Politics and football recently met on the sports field to unearth local talent when Mahlallane Peace Lovers won the inaugural SM Legacy Tournament by thumping Makotopong Giant Aces 3–0 in the finals at Madiga Junior Chiefs sports grounds in Madiga Village near Solomondale.
The SM Legacy Tournament, which brought together teams from villages in Ga-Dikgale, Ga-Mamabolo and Makotopotong, is sponsored by Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentarian Solly Malatsi, who is SM Legacy Tournament Chairperson. Malatsi told Polokwane Observer that the event was bound to become an annual one. A similar tournament, which would include netball, was in the planning for around Easter and from then onwards would be held in Easter every year with smaller events throughout the year, he explained.
Commenting on the success of the tournament, Malatsi said: “I am very happy with the support for the tournament by local clubs and communities. It was a great success beyond my imagination. The teams have now begged us to host another tournament during the Easter long weekend because they enjoyed this one. So we will be back, bigger and better, soon. We want this tournament to produce future professional football players for the province. The talent here is incredible.”
Peace Lovers had the toughest route to the final as they played in two derbies ahead of the final, Malatsi pointed out. “They beat fellow-homeboys Madiga United 1–0 in the quarterfinals in a closely contested match and went on to outclass their fiercest rivals Madiga Junior Chiefs 2–1 in the semi-finals, in what was considered the match of the tournament by the crowd of over 1 000 fans who turned out to support them.”
Giant Aces reached the final by beating Sebayeng Zebras 6–5 on penalties in the quarterfinals, after a lapse of concentration and poor defending allowed Zebras to come from behind twice to force the match into penalties after the 2- 2 deadlock.
The final between Peace Lovers and Giant Aces was kicked off as a scintillating contest with both playing exciting attacking football. “But it was Peace Lovers who struck first when Mofari ‘Jimmy Jambo’ Sithole headed in the first goal with a powerful header from a well-taken corner kick in the 27th minute of the first half. The goal seemed to have deflated the confidence of Giant Aces as their performance descended into a lackluster affair. This allowed Peace Lovers to return even stronger in the second half. Their hard work was rewarded when ‘Zlatan’ scored a thunderous long range free kick, which was voted the goal of the tournament, for their second goal.”
For their efforts Peace Lovers won a full soccer kit sponsored by Puma to the value of R3 000, 18 gold medals and a floating trophy. Giant Aces were rewarded with a full soccer kit sponsored by Puma to the value of R15 000 and 18 silver medals.
William “Lekhweps” Ngoasheng (Giant Aces) emerged goalkeeper of the tournament, John-John Sethole (Peace Lovers) defender of the tournament, Thabo Ramalepe (Giant Aces) midfielder of the tournament, Justice Pilusa top goal scorer and Kgadi Makgaba (Peace Lovers) best player of the tournament. Malatsi concluded saying they all returned home with trophies and respective cash prizes of R100 and R250.
Story: YOLANDE NEL