25 September 2018 – The 14th Edition of the annual Clinix Stix Morewa Soccer Challenge was launched today at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
Named after the late former president of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Solomon Stix Morewa, the tournament aims to promote grassroots football and develop the youth of today to become better players – which is the reason why the annual event is growing in Soweto.
64 teams will be divided into 16 groups of four teams each, and will play in a round-robin phase.
The Vice President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Ms Ria Ledwaba, attended the event, former Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba, who is now the chairman of the South African Football Legends. Representing Dr. Kop Matseke, the brains behind the tournament, was Ms. Matshepo Majola, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of Clinix Health Group.
Delivering the keynote address, Ledwaba said it is tournaments like these that can only help South Africa take her best among the best in the world.
“First of all we have to appreciate what companies like Clinix and many more do for football, and next you have to applaud people with vision like Dr KOP Matseke – because without them all these talented players would not have a platform. It is now a chance for these youngsters to seize the opportunity and market themselves,” said Ledwaba.
“When Bafana Bafana loses, only then do we say there is no development – but in truth a tournament like this one is about development, while Bafana Bafana is the end product. So we should focus our energies on such iniatives, and be very patient because development is not overnight success. I just want to say thank you the organisers for keeping the Morewa name alive with this tournament – he was all about development and we should continue with his legacy.”
The tournament kicks off on Sunday, 30 September, and the finals will be played on Sunday, 25 November 2018 at the Nike Football Training Centre.
Played under the auspices of the Soweto Football Association (SFA), which is a SAFA affiliate, the three-month long Stix Morewa Tournament has been split into six divisions – Under 9, Under 11, Under 13, Under 15, Under 17 and Seniors.It is open to all Sowetan SAFA affiliated youth soccer teams.
“Clinix and the Soweto Football Association saw an opportunity to give back to the community by taking Solomon ‘Stix’ Morewa’s dream and spreading it as far as we can. We have kept his memory alive by playing this tournament, which is growing at an alarming rate. We have seen great football played here over the years with some of the players kick-starting their professional careers here, and it is all in line with Stix would have wanted – to focus on the foundation to make the top strong,” said Dr. Khamane Matseke, Clinix Health Group CEO and friend to Stix Morewa.
There is also the women’s competition, which is divided into three categories – Under 13, Under 15 and Seniors.
“The women’s competition is growing at a rapid pace as we have seen an increase in girls wanting to play football, and we are only too happy to offer that platform so they can realise their dreams of playing for Bantwana (the South African U17 Women’s National Team), Basetsana (the South African U20 Women’s National Team) or even the Senior Team (Banyana Banyana),” added Dr. Matseke.
“Decades before this, football was seen as a men’s only game, but now the women are showing us that they can be on par with the men. Let’s us also take this opportunity to congratulate Banyana Banyana for retaining their COSAFA Women’s Championship title, and we are confident that such success will inspire the participants that will take part in the Stix Morewa Challenge.”
American Female football player Mia Hamm was very correct when she said ‘’I a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” Football is not about the individual but the team.
We have certainly seen this in South African female football this year with stars such as Refiloe Jane and Rhoda Mulaudzi being picked to play in the Australian Women’s Premier League. Their hard work is setting good examples to young female football players who would also like to see themselves in the big leagues.
Some stars such as Refiloe Jane are alumni of the Soccer Challenge and are giving back to the communities that they came from. This year the challenge has approximately 1200 teams, including the ladies teams, playing.
“Watching players, ranging from U9 to U17, playing to win in this tournament makes us happy, and we hope they don’t end here but pursue their dream of playing at the highest level. The number of teams are increasing with each year and we are confident that out of these a star will be born that we can all be proud of,” said Phil Mogodi, Chairperson of the Soweto Football Association.
“The relationship that SFA has with Clinix Health Group makes good sense because both entities want to encourage the players to live healthy lifestyles. We are also pleased that the tournament is celebrating 14 years of existence, which is a clear indication that we are doing something right.”
The draw for the 64 teams was also conducted – to view the full draw, click here.