It’s been eight action-packed weeks since the kick off of the Selati Cup 2018 and, as the tournament draws to a close with the Top 16 now in contention, Mpumalanga will hold its breath to see who will be this year’s championship team.
2017 saw Kamhlushwa Real Madrid crowned Selati Cup champions after defeating Buffelspruit Home Defenders in a close encounter that came down to the final minutes.
Kenneth Phiri, Selati Cup Tournament Co-ordinator spoke on the tournament's journey, “As always we’ve come to expect a high level of performance and an impressive spirit of competition from all the teams taking part in the Selati Cup. In 13 years, no team has ever won the cup more than once, so this shows just how competitive the field really is.
"Each year, new talent comes to the fore and stronger teams come into the running, so we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s final has in store.”
More than 120 teams have been whittled down to just 16 over the course of the last two months and all the heart-pounding action will culminate with over 15 000 spectators crowding into Kamhlushwa Stadium to cheer their favourites on as they compete for a prize purse of over R100 000 on 3 June.
“The Selati Cup was started 13 years ago as a way to bring camaraderie, entertainment and joy to the people of Mpumalanga, many of whom are also part of our Selati family,” said Derek Van Niekerk, Director at Selati Sugar Business Unit. “We are proud to be associated with an event that has become such a massive part of our local community and one which so many people look forward to every year.”
The Selati Cup is also celebrated as a grassroots soccer breeding ground where scouts from the national teams come in search of fresh talent. Local stars such as Innocent Mkhabela, Velile Zitha, Mpho Mbebe, Jabulani Dladla and Ludick Mkhatshwa all found their way onto the national stage thanks to exposure from the tournament.
In 2017 several talented players were recognised, including Machala Matlalepula of the winning team, who was awarded Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament with an impressive 14 goals and Inosh Mlambo of Kamhlushwa City Stars, who was named Goal Keeper of the Tournament. Special mention went to Ncedile Siwela of Schoemansdal Super Strikers who scored 10 goals in a single match.
The question for this year is, who will be number one in 2018?
International soccer star Lucas Radebe will once again be guiding the semi-finalist teams through a training workshop leading up to the final and be cheering the teams on from the sidelines.
Following his visit to the tournament last year, Lucas said “As always, I enjoyed visiting Mpumalanga, and I ama lways in awe of the passion the fans there have for the game. I was really impressed by the quality of talent on display.”
This year, the new Selati Cup Facebook page will keep fans closer than ever to the action!
Plus, you stand a chance to win a share of R100 000 with the Selati Cup. To enter simply purchase any Selati Sugar product and SMS the barcode to 32372.
* Visit facebook.com/SelatiCup for more information.