Vhembe-based club Mpheni Defenders were crowned provincial ABC Motsepe League champions and will represent Limpopo at the national playoffs in Northern Cape. 

Defenders were crowned the Limpopo champions for the second time in a row following their 1-0 win over Tzaneen United at Oscar Mpetha Stadium at the University of Limpopo over the weekend. Lucky Buasi scored the only goal of the day in the 67th minute.  

ALSO READ: Limpopo ABC Motsepe clubs summoned to an urgent meeting

They qualified for the provincial playoffs after finishing top of Stream A with 34 points. Tzaneen United on the other hand were Stream B winners with 45 points.

Mpheni have now qualified for the SAFA ABC Motsepe League national playoffs for the second time in a row. Last season, the Limpopo side were eliminated in the semi-finals of the national playoffs.

MPHENI DEFENDERS RETURN TO THE ABC MOTSEPE NATIONAL PLAYOFFS 

They became the sixth team to qualify for the 2024 ABC Motsepe League national playoffs. This year, the playoffs are set to be held in the Northern Cape next month.

The other five teams that have booked their spots are Thames FC [North West], FN Rangers [Western Cape], Dondol Stars [Gauteng], Njampela FC [KwaZulu-Natal], and also Kruger United [Mpumalanga].

Apart from the cacophonous noise from the pavilion of Mahwelereng stadium, the Spikes anniversary tournament over the past two weekends provided some creative flair on the field of play.

Albeit the stadium is a dilapidated sports facility, for Lebowakgomo Wild Beasts who won the ultimate prize, the diamond where they executed their game plan was the theatre of their dreams.

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Wild Beasts were on a warpath, embarrassing Seshego sides; Cannons 15-0 and Raiders 9-0 with a clinical display of belligerent batting while their fielding never raised a sweat.

They then proceeded to the grand finale where they snatched a slender 2-1 victory over Vaal University of Technology in a fiercely contested encounter played under floodlights.

Meanwhile, Moletlane Texas Masters reinforced their supremacy when they clobbered Tshwane-based Ga-Rankua Generals Masters with a comprehensive 6-1 scoreline in a one-sided clash.

Texas women lost 4-1 to Ma-Young but that was after the team’s juniors won the development games a week earlier. Texas’ success story during this tournament reinforced the general consensus that the maroon and white brigade from the citrus heartlands is the nucleus of talent in the country.

Although the hosts, Spikes dismally failed to win any silverware on home soil, there was plenty to celebrate during this historic 45th anniversary.
Past and present generations that form the bedrock of The Snakes Gallery came en masse to celebrate this milestone that was established back in 1978 under the chairmanship of Joshua Seroka.

That inception was the springboard from where unrivaled talent was launched and the rest is history.

SPIKES CELEBRATE 45TH ANNIVERSARY IN STYLE 

In his post-tournament interview, current president Thabo Mulaudzi retorted that their anniversary has left an indelible benchmark and will be remembered in the club’s history books.

“We staged this event as part of the sporting rituals of the community that raised us. Spikes has always been a family affair that comprises schools, parents, players and a loyal fan base. We pride ourselves as a sports brand that has produced quality players, shrewd leadership and fans who have supported the club through thick and thin.

“Over the past few days, we toiled day and night to ensure that this anniversary became a resounding success and we did that with great composure. We are pleased to have in our midst the veterans who have laid a solid foundation to ensure that the softball flame in Mahwelereng remains ablaze. Through their unyielding support and guidance, we will preserve the legacy of this great team and leave a permanent footprint” said Mulaudzi.

By Moyahabo Mabeba

*MOYAHABO MABEBA is the Head of Marketing and Publicity at Limpopo Softball Association and PRO of the Capricorn District Sport Confederation

The Limpopo-based Benny’s Care Academy have reached the 2023 national championship of the Kay Motsepe U/19 tournament. They beat Mpumalanga 5-4 at Bekkersdal School Stadium in Magaliesburg, Gauteng.

The winners were determined by penalty shootout after the two schools played to a 1-1 draw during regulation time.

Benny’s Care were the national champions in 2016 and represented South Africa at the Danone World Cup in France. The majority of players are the ones who went to France.

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Coach Mbishi Mokoena, says they were going all out to win the competition again. He added that it was important to reward the loyal community of Limpopo who had supported the team when the competition started.

He expressed joy with the school’s performances. Mbishi added that their preparations for the final with Free State on Saturday, 7 October were well underway “and my boys are looking forward to this challenge”.

ANOTHER KEY MOTSEPE FINAL FOR BENNY’S CARE ACADEMY

Mokoena said the team had received tremendous support from the local traditional leader Vhamusanda Vho Makhado Sinthumule, Limpopo school sport and the school management. “Just getting to the national finals has made a difference to the boys in terms of confidence and motivation,” he added.

He also said that the players were excited about going to the finals. “I’m happy that I am the coach that made it possible for them to get this far in the competition”.

ISRAEL MORAKE, the 1992 Two Oceans Marathon champion, believes South Africa has more running talent than the world’s leading nations in the sport but the country needs to make a concerted effort of unearthing and grooming boys and girls with potential.

“When I look at countries like Kenya, Jamaica, Ethiopia, they are the top in the world but the reality is that we are a lot better with the untapped talent that we have in the country. The problem in South Africa is that we don’t go out there and try to dig for that talent. We have lots of kids at schools but they don’t do any exercises.”

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Lest he be accused of making empty noise, Morake is putting his money where his mouth is though a series of road races that seeks to expose underprivileged areas to competitive running.

Through his ISMO Athletic Club in collaboration with Fortress Real Estate, Morake organizes the Fortress Running Series which hosts three-in-one race (half-marathon, 10km and 5km fun run) around the country.

Now in its fifth year, the Fortress Running Series is growing in leaps and bounds and this year’s edition has already had two events successfully hosted in Venda, Limpopo as well as Evaton in Gauteng.

The third race is taking place this Sunday in Morake’s home township of Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape and the man who earned two top ten finishes at the Comrades Marathon during the peak of his running career in the 90s is hopeful that they will have a good number of athletes participating.

“We are expecting to get about 800runenrs in our small township this weekend. With some crossing over from Lesotho as they’ve done in the past years. We are ready to host yet another successful race, thanks to the support of Fortress, which we believe will go a long way towards unearthing some talent. We have engaged schools here and they will be sending some youngsters to run the 5km race.”

ISRAEL MORAKE WANTS RUNNING BACK WHERE IT BELONGS

Morake says it pains him that South Africa is not among the leaders in the sport of running anymore.

“Back in the 70s and 80s we used to be the best, not just in South Africa, but the world over. We had runners producing world best times. But now, I think as legends are a little to blame because we have sat back and not gotten involved in the sport.”

He is directly involved through the Fortress Running Series and he is excited that this weekend’s race is being hosted in his hometown.

“Sterskspruit is special for me because this is where I got the blessings to be the top athlete I went on to become,” the man who won three gold medals at the Two Oceans gushes “By bringing the race here, I believe I am taking that blessing which I had back to where the seed was planted. I am back to look for that seed and help to grow it and thanks to the support of Fortress we are able to give these youngsters an opportunity to run in organized races.”

Entry forms are available at the Sterkspruit Mall run by Fortress and runners can also enter online. Entry fees start at R60 for the 5km, R100 for the 10km and R150 for the 21.1km races.

Children under 12 can participate in the 5km race for free. The Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture has sponsored the prize money for this race and with the total prize pool up for grabs for the 21.1km and 10km races being a cool R80,000.

By Matshelane Mamabolo

Bahumi FC will host an inaugural charity soccer tournament on the weekend of 16 and 17 September 2023. The tournament will take place at Kgohloane Black Brothers [Mmotong wa Perekisi-Kgohloane] outside Polokwane. It will also feature 16 teams competing for a mouthwatering stake of R50 000.

“The objective of the tournament is to use football to fight poverty in Moletji with an intention of expanding to other areas in the province,” said tournament coordinator Joshua Kwapa.

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“For the inaugural event, 20 families will be presented with food parcels which were mobilized from various donors in the province. Through the collaboration with traditional authorities, child-headed families, families with no source of income, families where breadwinners have died as well as poor families who don’t receive any form of grant and in desperate situations were identified as beneficiaries for this course.

“These beneficiaries will among others receive food items such as Millie Meal, rice, cooking oil, eggs, tinned food, soup, milk, washing powder, bread, etc,” he said.

BAHUMI FC LAUNCHES INAUGURAL CHARITY SOCCER TOURNAMENT

The tournament will continue to the weekend of the 23-24 September. The final game will be played on the 25 of September where a food distribution ceremony will be held.

Proceeds from this tournament will be used to support Non-Profit organisations helping and supporting vulnerable members of society. This event is planned to become an annual event whose objective is to help the poor members of the community.

*Bahumi FC is an amateur club established in 2015 by a group of friends who used to play in their younger days. Bahumi mostly plays social games and have also recently ventured into competitive games after putting together a team of younger players.

The SAFA Limpopo leadership led by its President Jack Maluleka is set to visit the troubled Capricorn Region on Friday. The Capricorn Region has been embroiled in infighting with calls for its President Jacky Mogashoa.

Just last month, clubs and LFA’s organised a March to the region’s office in Polokwane to demand that Mogashoa steps down.

It is yet not clear what the meeting is about but the provincial leadership have reportedly raised their concerns about the state of the region.

This also includes the embarrassing situation during the Limpopo promotion playoffs where two clubs from the region pitched in Nkowa-Nkowa. The region ended up being barred from participating in the playoffs for the same reason.

LIMPOPO SAFA LEADERSHIP TO VISIT TROUBLED REGION

In a circular seen by LimSportsZone, the meeting is scheduled for 16:00 on Friday. There is also not an agenda sent to those expected to attend but this publication will keep you updated on the outcomes of the meeting.

SAFA leaders in Limpopo to visit the troubled Capricorn Region
SAFA Capricorn Region 1st deputy president Tomas Mulaudzi and Provincial secretary Refiloe Khoza 

CURRENT CAPRICORN LEADERS:

President: Jacky Mogashoa
1st Vice President: Tomas Mulaudzi
2nd Vice President: Isiah Maesela
3rd Vice President: Mrs Mashilela M Treasurer: Maoto MG
General Secretary: Mosotho Malesela Additional Members: Mr
Mahlahare NL, Mr Mabotja M, Mr Semenya J, Mr Mashapu G, Mr Manaso D, Mr Manyekwane I, Mr Kekana C.

SAFA Limpopo ABC Motsepe League Club Mighty FC have released 23 players ahead of the 2023/24 season. The Limpopo season is expected to kick-start in the first week of October.

‘The Mafians’ finished third in their stream this past season. The club is also owned by well-known lawyer and administrator Mighty Tjale.

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“Mighty FC in its first step of putting things right has released 23 players with immediate effect to clear the path for the new coming recruits. The players released were given free clearances whilst some are still to collect. The 23 players are also released with free clearances,” the club said in a statement.

“The decision taken, is in line with the team’s preparation of challenging for the 2023/2024 SAFA Limpopo ABC Motsepe title. As such only committed players are needed.”

“As we intend to challenge for the 2023/2024 ABC Motsepe League title this coming season as management of the club we thought it is imperative to keep manageable, committed, disciplined players which we can effectively use and focus on serving the team to change their lives. Players who are not prioritising tournaments rather than official league fixtures,” said club CEO Marnold Mabotja.

“Players who shall rest and take care of their bodies in order to compete for official league fixtures. As a result there of we took decision as management of the team to release the players who are not in the plans of the team together with tournaments committed players.”

PLAYERS RELEASED BY MIGHTY FC

  1. Junior Menese
  2. Makoti Ramogobadi
  3. Ntisa Monde
  4. Mashiane Kgabo
  5. Mohlake Phuti
  6. Lekgoro Matadihlogo
  7. Mthobeni Ntsako
  8. Nda Christopher
  9. Mmonoa Maphuti
  10. Ntladi Kgaugelo
  11. NukeriHlaluko
  12. Lekgawu Promise
  13. Senoamadi Puseletso
  14. Kgaabi Theopholus
  15. Bosega Tshegofatso
  16. Isaacs Malcolm
  17. Mothoa Khomotso
  18. Mohube Shimane
  19. Makuto Pasalelo
  20. Letsoalo Podile
  21. Phiri Deon
  22. Seema Lori and also;
  23. Nono Rakgoale

“We mean business as Mighty FC this time around, and we want to do things in a different way”.

The club is also set to announce new developments in the next few days.

The Province of Limpopo has rejected an offer to host Bafana Bafana’s upcoming international friendly games against Namibia and DR Congo, respectively, next month. LimSportsZone understands.

Preparing for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cote D’Ivoire next year and the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers games, Bafana are set to host the two countries on the 9th and 12th of September 2023.

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Coach Hugo Broos has already announced his 36-man preliminary squad, which he will trim to 23 players next week. Meanwhile, SAFA are yet to confirm the venues for these friendly encounters.

Limpopo Province rejects offer to host Bafana Bafana matches
Peter Mokaba Stadium

However, LimSportsZone has it on good authority that the South African Football Association (SAFA), had approached the Limpopo Department of Sport, bidding to take the two matches to Peter Mokaba Stadium.

However, the Province has reportedly turned down the proposal, invoking financial restraints on their budget and time. This means that the 2010 FIFA World Cup venue will not be available for the two fixtures next month.

LIMPOPO REJECTS BAFANA BAFANA OFFER

The unfortunate decision taken by Limpopo province led the football mother body to find another venue.

Reports stated that Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are understood to be keen on hosting the games. With Broos expected to announce his final squad, SAFA are also anticipated to confirm where the matches will take place.

By Clifton Mabasa

Motsepe Foundation Championship side Casric Stars will host seven of their 15 home matches at the Giyani Stadium in Limpopo. This was revealed in the fixture list released by the PSL last week. The promotion league is set to kick-start on Friday, 24 August.

Casric Stars are co-owned by Bucks Mthombeni and Tshikane Mkasi [main picture] who have some roots in Giyani. They played all their home matches at the Solomon Mahlangu Stadium in Mpumalanga last season.

ALSO READ: Venda FC to relocate to the Malamulele Stadium

The club came close to securing promotion to the DStv Premiership but missed out on the last day of the season. They also failed to gain promotion during the PSL promotion playoffs which saw Cape Town Spurs secure promotion.

CASRIC STARS FIXTURES IN GIYANI STADIUM

 7 October Casric Stars Milford FC
 4 November  Casric Stars Upington City
 2 December Casric Stars Orbit College FC
 13 February   Casric Stars Maritzburg United
 9 March Casric Stars NB La Masia
 28 April  Casric Stars JDR Stars
 5 May Casric Stars Platinum City Rovers

Meanwhile, as first revealed by LimSportsZone, Venda Football Club will host some of its matches at the Giyani Stadium. Venda FC are in their third season in the National first division. Their regular home base has always been in Thohoyandou.

According to the fixture list, VFC will only host Baroka at the Malamulele Stadium on 8 October. But according to sources the stadium will host a few other fixtures that are set to be confirmed at a later stage. 

LIMPOPO’S current top ultra-marathon runner Rufus Photo has had his great efforts rewarded with inclusion in Athletics South Africa’s (ASA) national team for the IAU 50km World Championships.

Photo, from Moletjie, Ga-Chokwe, is part of the twelve-member squad of six men and six women who will attempt to bring home glory from the championships that will be held in Hyderabad in India on November 5.

“It’s been a long time since I represented my country and I am very excited to be getting yet another opportunity as old as I am,” the 43-year-old told LimSportsZone

ALSO READ: Fortress Running Series moves to Evaton after successful debut in Thohoyandou

“I was part of the SA team that won gold at the 100km World Championships back in 2016 and at my age I did not see myself representing South Africa again but this shows that in running, age is just a number. I am looking forward to helping my country get a podium finish.”

Photo will team up with Dan Matshailwe, Nkosikhona Mhlakwana, Skhumbuso Seme, Gladwin Mzazi and Pule Sibeko in their quest to bring the country glory in a competition South Africa previously won 2019.

“It’s a very strong team and I am sure we will finish in the top three As long as we can all manage to run a 2:48, we will bring home a medal and even win it.”

Rufus Photo looking forward to helping SA win World 50km Championships
Rufus Photo

RUFUS PHOTO OFF TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The World Championships will be a a cherry on top of what has been a good season for Photo who produced a stunning run at the Comrades Marathon in June by winning the veterans’ category (40-49) with his fifth place finish overall at the world famous KwaZulu-Natal ultra.

Photo says his great Comrades run did not happen by chance: “I know that everybody was surprised. I know I was not even expected to be in the top ten because whenever I read about those considered the favourites, my name was not there. But I knew I was on to a good thing, I had learnt my lesson from the past. My blunder previously was that I over-raced so this time I chose my races and mainly focused on training.”

BEST COMRADES MARATHON RECORD 

The reward was great, Photo attaining his best ever Comrades finish of fifth place in a time of 5:21:48.

Without a club after Murray &Roberts closed down, Photo’s efforts have been rewarded with this call up and he is hopeful that some sponsor will come his way to help him not only continue with his brilliant career but to also help the youngsters he is training.

“I have realised that I am inspiring the young ones that I train with as I am achieving the things I am at my age. And where I live there is a lot of talent and I believe I can produce a lot of top class runners who can go on to become great athletes. I am working with a few who are already doing well in races and all we need is good support. My goal is to catch these youngsters while they are still at primary school to develop them because once they are older they are hard to teach. I am currently in talks with the schools. Development has to start early.”

The women’s team for the World Championships is made up of Adele Broodryk, Jenet Mbhele, Stella Marais, Makhosazane Mhlongo, Galaletsang Mekgoe and Deanne Loubscher.

By Matshelane Mamabolo