MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Bongi Sithole-Moloi has wished all six KwaZulu-Natal professional football teams all the best ahead of the start of the Premiership and National First Division Leagues.
She was speaking following the successful hosting of the KZN Premier’s Cup Tournament involving the six KZN side at Umhlathuze Central Sports Complex in Richards Bay on Saturday, 13/08 and Sunday 14/08. The Tournament, organised by the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Office of the Premier, was aimed at assisting the teams to prepare themselves for the upcoming 2016/2017 season.
Royal Eagles were overall winners of the tournament after beating Maritzburg United 2-1 in the Final on Sunday afternoon.
The 2016 edition featured four NFD sides Eagles, Thanda Royal Zulu, AmaZulu and newcomers Real Kings FC, as well as two Premiership teams Maritzburg United and Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Action started on Saturday with play-off matches involving NFD teams. In the first game Eagles beat Kings 6-5 following a penalty shootout. In the second match of the day, local favourites Thanda Royal Zulu walloped AmaZulu 4-0, booking themselves a place in the Sunday semi-finals. In the first semi-final Maritzburg United qualified for the final after a 3-2 win on penalties against Thanda. In the second semi-final Eagles beat Arrows 3-2 after 90 minutes.
The final between Unite and Eagles was a hotly contested affair with Eagles having an upper hand in ball possession and goal scoring opportunities.
MEC Sithole-Moloi thanked the thousands of supporters who packed the stadium over the two days to support their teams.
“I thank all the supporters for coming in numbers to support our teams. We must support them throughout the season so that they can be encouraged to perform to the best of their abilities,” she said.
“We hope that by participating in the Premier’s Cup our teams have been able to prepare themselves for the start of the season in the Premiership and NFD. The Premier and I, as MEC for the Department of Sport, want to see our teams competing equally against clubs from other provinces because we are the Province of winners. We wish our teams all the best in the coming season. Our wish is for one of our teams in the NFD to be promoted to the Premiership so that we can have more teams competing at the highest level,” said MEC Sithole-Moloi.
MEC Sithole-Moloi said the Provincial Government will continue to work with football structures to support the development of football in the Province, including continued support for the Premier’s Cup next year.