Nobody Double Class is the champions of the Solly Malatsi (SM) Legacy Foundation Top 16 Football Tournament after beating Tjale Yellow Tigers 5-3 on penalties following an evenly contested final at Madiga Junior Chiefs Sports Ground on Sunday.
Double Class was inspired to victory by their goalkeeper Kenny Letsoalo whose heroic saves of two penalties guaranteed the Nobody Village side victory. During the semi-finals it was the same Letsoalo’s acrobatic double penalty saves against SAB League side Makotopong Brazil that propelled his team to the finals.
The 18-year-old sensation did not concede a single goal in his team’s four matches in the tournament and deservedly claimed the Goalkeeper of the Tournament title for which he was rewarded with a trophy and football hamper. Double Class’ journey to the finals began with a 2-0 victory over Sebayeng Zebras. They then beat Sebayeng Big 4 on penalties in the quarter-finals. Double Class caused the biggest upset of the tournament when they pepped favourites, Makotopong Brazil, 5-3 on penalties in the semi-finals to set up a clash with Tjale Yellow Tigers in the final. Yellow Tigers’ impressive trip to the finals began with the elimination of the host team, Madiga Junior Chiefs on penalties. They went ahead to outfox Makotopong Young Stars 3-2 in an action packed quarter-finals match despite missing a penalty in the 72nd-minute of the game. The victory elevated them into the semi-finals where they beat Mankga Junior Chiefs 4-3 on penalties.
Mankga Junior Chiefs had beaten their rivals, Tau-Tau in one of the fiercest derbies in Ga-Dikgale football 7-6 in the quarter-finals. That combative match and the misfortune of a vehicle accident in which three of their key players sustained minor injuries left the team lethargic for the rest of the tournament.
The final between Double Class and Yellow Tigers was played at a very fast pace with both teams aiming to get the ball into the net. Nobody Double Class walked home with the R10 000 cash prize, brand new football kit sponsored by Umbro, 20 gold medals and a trophy while Tjale Yellow Tigers received
R5 000 in cash, brand new football kit and 20 silver medals. Makotopong Brazil and Mankga Junior Chiefs received
R2 500 cash prize each for losing in the semi-finals.
Tower Ralefatana of Mankga Junior Chiefs was named the Best Defender of the tournament while Alphy Modiba of Nobody Double Class was announced as Best Midfielder of the tourney. The title of Top Goal Scorer went to Lati Moholwa of Makotopong Brazil while Nelson Maluleke claimed a prize for Best Player of the Tournament. Individual prize winners received a trophy and football hamper sponsored by Umbro.
SM Legacy Foundation Chairperson Solly Malatsi was buoyed by the success of the football festival. “As the executive committee of the foundation we are very happy with success of the tournament. From the quality of football on display throughout the tournament to the incredible atmosphere fostered by all the football fanatics who came to watch the matches over the last two weeks, everything was phenomenal. From the hawkers who were selling food at the field to children who came to watch their local heroes, everything exuded the spirit of community upliftment and grassroots development that our foundation seeks to achieve,” he explained. Malatsi thanked all the sponsors for their support and for believing in their vision for grassroots sports development. Sasol-Turfloop manager, Martin Palm was ecstatic about the success of the tournament and emphasised that for them as a local business that really believes in investing in communities where they are based, the tournament was a perfect initiative to support.
Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI