4 November 2020 – Given the turbulent nature of the footballing calendar this past year due to COVID-19, it was a welcome relief when the ABC Motsepe League play-offs was given the go-ahead by the SAFA’s NEC.
It was decided that the nine teams currently occupying top spot in their respective provinces will proceed to the play-offs. There was much excitement after the official draw was made at SAFA House.
The event will run from 9-14 November at the Vaal University of Technology in Gauteng. The nine teams will be split up into three pools.
The first group includes KwaZulu-Natal winners Umvoti FC who will be up against the much-vaunted Hungry Lions from the Northern Cape and the talented Mpumalanga United. The second group comprises of Free State champions Mangaung United, Limpopo’s impressive Mikhado FC and Eastern Cape’s plucky Bizana Pondo Chiefs. The final group of teams will see Gauteng’s Pretoria Callies welcoming North West’s Polokwane City Rovers and the Western Cape’s surprise package Zizwe United.
The unique nature of the draw will see the three group winners proceeding directly to the semi-finals with the best 2nd placed team joining them. There will be a draw after the group stage to ensure that this team does not play the winner from the same group. The two semi winners will not only proceed to the final but also to the prestigious, newly-branded GladAfrica Championships.
Given the quality of teams on display, the tournament is set to be one of the more competitive in recent times, even with the rigorous schedule and short turnaround times. But why is this event so important?
The much-coveted league has long captured the hearts and imaginations of the local football fraternity across all nine provinces and never fails to deliver scintillating action.
The league itself (current second division and overall third tier of South African football), consists of a mammoth 144 clubs across the nation. Sponsored by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, the league has always been a key stepping stone to success in local football, not just for teams but individual players as well.
Doing well and eventually being promoted means that you are one step away from Premier Soccer League (PSL) football. Many players who learn their trade in this league, go on to play for the national team. Also, certain PSL veterans eventually return or join the ABC League, thus reinforcing the marquee status that it now enjoys.
Growing in stature each and every year, the ABC Motsepe League has been given a lifeline in 2020 and the play-off tournament will not disappoint. Follow SAFA.net on social media for all the latest updates during the event.