10 June 2017 – The stage is set for the battle to determine who is the best in the 2016/2017 ABC Motsepe League when Uthongathi of KwaZulu-Natal takes on Free State’s Super Eagles in the final of the National Play-Offs.
The clash will be played on Sunday, 11 June 2017 at Buffalo City Stadium in East London.
Kick off is at 15h00 and the match will be broadcast live on SABC 1.
The two sides finished top of their streams after a week of highly intensive matches. Both have solid defences as they let in only two goals each in the group stages – only Acornbush has the best defence, as they did not concede in all their four matches of the group stages.
Eagles have an edge as they have a higher scoring rate than the KZN side – the Free State ensemble found the back of the net eight times, three more than Uthongathi, but the latter has scored in every match in the group stages, while Eagles kicked off the play-offs with a goalless draw.
Speaking ahead of the clash, both coaches sounded confident.
“We have had a good tournament and peaked at the right time. A lot of people undermined us and this worked well in our favour. The final is upon us and I have faith in my boys. They have displayed great character and fought like true champions throughout the season. We now have to cap off our season with a win in the final,” said Tshegofatso Mashego, Super Eagles coach.
Uthongathi coach, Ronnie Gabriel said they will be going for the kill.
“Look, this is a final and we have nothing to lose. It’s all or nothing so we just need to go out there and play for a win. We obviously need to be careful not to be caught on the break but we have identified our mistakes and have spoken to the players to ensure that we are not caught off guard, but we are confident of victory,” said Gabriel.
The winner will receive directly an amount of eight hundred thousand rand (R800 000.00), with an additional two hundred thousand rand (R200 000.00) to be applied for the development of youth football project chosen for by the winner in consultation with both SAFA and the Motsepe Foundation.
The runners-up will walk away with an amount of four hundred thousand rand (R400 000.00) with an additional one hundred thousand rand (R100 000.00) to be applied for the development of youth football project chosen for by the runner-up in consultation with both SAFA and the Motsepe Foundation.
There is also the small matter of confirming the top goal scorer in the competition as currently Joseph Chikila of EC Bees, Thapelo Selepe of Super Eagles and Mpho Erasmus of Zizwe United are leading the pack with four goals each.
With EC Bees and Zizwe United not contesting the final, Selepe has a good chance of increasing his goal tally. The only threat could come from Thabo Setsumi and Mpapa Mofokeng (both of Super Eagles) and Siyabonga Vilane of Uthongathi who are sitting on two goals each.
THE ROAD TO THE FINAL:
Group Stages (Group A)
Super Eagles (0) 0 vs (0) 0 Acornbush
Maccabi (0) 1 vs (1) 2 Super Eagles
The Dolphins (0) 0 vs (1) 3 Super Eagles
Super Eagles (2) 3 vs (1) 1 Buya Msuthu
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
4 3 1 0 8 2 6 10
Group Stages (Group B)
EC Bees (0) 0 vs (1) 1 Uthongathi
Zizwe United (0) 0 vs (0) 1 Uthongathi
Uthongathi (0) 3 vs (0) 2 Mainstay United
P W D L GF GA GD Pts
3 3 0 0 5 2 3 9
Leading Goal scorers
- Chikila EC Bees 4
- Selepe Super Eagles 4
- Erasmus Zizwe United 4
- Sibeko Maccabi 2
- Setsumi Super Eagles 2
- Mofokeng Super Eagles 2
- Vilane Uthongathi 2