Magesi FC of Limpopo have won the ABC Motsepe national play offs final after beating a gutsy Kings United of KwaZulu-Natal 5-3 on penalties after the game, played at a sun-drenched Dr P Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon, had ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Apart from booking a lucrative ticket into the National First Division (NDF) next season, Magesi walked away with a R1million cheque winning prize which will give them a solid foundation for the upcoming campaign in the professional ranks.
Kings for their part will also be campaigning in the NFD and collected a cheque for R500 000 for being runners-up.
Champions Magesi who didn’t lose all the matches they played during the week long plays offs, took the lead through a well-worked goal by roving midfielder Tshimangadzo Ramaxwaila who had received a cross from the right after the Kings defence had been priced open.
But hardly a minute after Magesi had taken the lead, Kings hit back almost immediately through Thobani Kunene who completed another enterprising move which has been the hallmark of the matches played in the ABC Motsepe play offs this year.
The two teams went to the break deadlocked at 1-1 but a ferocious second half in which the KZN side were slightly the better of the two side, failed to produce a winner taking the match straight into penalties after 90 minutes.
While Magesi scored all their five penalties, Kings missed their fourth penalty meaning taking their fifth one was irrelevant after Magesi had scored their fifth spot kick.
“The type of football on display here once again proves why the ABC Motsepe sponsorship by the Motsepe Foundation has changed the face of football in this country,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan.
With the winners walking away with a cool R1 million prize money and the runners up R500 000, Dr Jordaan said this cash injection prepared the promoted sides well for life in the professional ranks of the First Division.
“You don’t need to look further than what currently happened this season in which all former ABC Motsepe sides dominated the NFD. Baroka FC got automatic promotion into the Premier Soccer League (PSL) while Highlands Park joined them after beating everyone in the play offs.
And Mbombela United almost completed an amazing season in their maiden season in the NFD and will be the team to watch next season. I want to thank Mr Motsepe for his generosity and challenge other individuals and corporate to do the same,” added Dr Jordaan.
Motsepe Foundation boss Mr Patrice Motsepe said he was encouraged that his efforts where contributing to changing the face of South African football.
“It is always heartening if your project pays dividends and contributing to the success of the entire football structures. I am hoping to see both Magesi and Kings United campaigning in the PSL soon. Our main wish as the Motsepe Foundation is to create winners,” said Mr Motsepe.