18 November 2020 – Familiar faces of former Premier Soccer League (PSL) players and coaches brightened the 2020 edition of the ABC Motsepe League Play-offs held at the Vaal University of Technology from 9-14 November.
While ultimate winners Bizana Pondo Chiefs played with a relatively youthful and unknown team, the Eastern Cape-based side boasts former Chippa United goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng as head coach.
His experience gathered in the PSL was evident as he guided his ensemble to the final and surprised all and sundry by lifting the title 8-7 through penalties against Pretoria Callies FC after a 1-1 full-time stalemate to become national champions.
Motsoeneng’s opposite number in the final was none other than much-travelled coach Sammy Troughton whose resume reads like a best-selling film script, having coached Black Aces, Witbank Spurs and TS Galaxy just to name a few.
Troughton managed to lead Callies FC to a 100% record after his team won all their group stage matches, registering back to back 1-0 victories against Zizwe United FC in the opening encounter and Polokwane City Rovers FC in the last group stage match.
The Callies mentor’s fortunes were further propelled by former Supersport United FC striker Thabiso Nkoana whose hat trick against Mangaung Unite in the semi-finals earned him the accolade of top goal-scorer of the tournament.
Even though Hungry Lions FC failed to advance to the knockout stages, the 2019/20 season’s Nedbank Cup last 16 contestants and Northern Cape-based side had former Bloemfontein Celtic striker Moses Spandeel in their line-up.
And at the age of 40 however, it was too much to ask of Spandeel to rise above his teammates. Their 2-1 victory against FC Mpumalanga United would be their only victory after losing their opening encounter 1-0 against Umvothi FC, and subsequently failing to advance to the semi-finals as the best number two side.
Another familiar face was former Moroka Swallows and Free State Stars player Doctor Mkhonza, who coached Kwazulu-Natal-based side Umvothi FC to a 1-0 group stage win against Lions and a 3-2 triumph over FC Mpumalanga in the last match.
Mkhonza fell short of advancing to the final when his side stumbled to a 4-3 penalties defeat to Bizana Pondo Chiefs after a 0-0 full-time draw.
Other notable faces include Bizana Pondo Chiefs goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela who has done duty for clubs such as Platinum Stars, Amazulu and Chippa United. There was also Lion’s Rudiger Gilbert who plied his trade for Black Aces, Free State Stars and Chippa United as well as Vuyisile Wana from Mangaung Unite who featured for Moroka Swallows and Bloemfontein Celtics in the PSL.