Barberton City Stars managing director, Israel Dhlamini, believes the successful defence of their Autumn Soccer Challenge title will boost their morale and their chances of winning the Mpumalanga Vodacom League crown in the 2007/08 season.
Speaking at the launch of the tournament held at Ubuntu Kraal guest house in Nelspruit on Tuesday evening, Dhlamini, said: "We are preparing to challenge for the Vodacom league crown next season."
Stars, who have been drawn against SAB Castle regional league side Manchester United, won the cup in its inauguration last year. The game will take place at KaBokweni Stadium at 3pm.
The event is contested by six sides from the Ehlanzeni region of Mpumalanga who are campaining in the Vodacom League and two teams from the SAB CastleLeague.
Four women's teams from the region are also involved in their version of the event.
Raymond Nyalunga, spokesman for United, who will be competing for the first time in the tournament, said: "Champions or not, we are prepared to make them run for their money."
The sponsors of the tournament, Heidel Eggs and BJ Group, have contributed R100 000 towards the tournament.
Nick Elliot, Heidel Eggs director said they were committed towards sponsoring the tournament until 2010. "We have contributed R100 000 towards the tournament, " said Elliot.
There will be floating trophies for the champions, the runner-up and the ladies team winner.
The cash prize money for the men's category is: champions - R15 000; runner-up - R9 000; third place - R5 000 and fourth place - R3 000.
The ladies category prizes: champions - R5 000; runner-up - R3 000; third place - R1 250 and fourth place - R500.
The rest of the fixtures: Saturday men: - Yorkcor United v FC Benfica (12pm); Barberton City Stars v Manchester United (2pm). Women: Supersport v Amazon (10am).
Sunday - men: Nyamazane Celtics v FC Henemat (12pm); ELB Movers v Barcelona FC (2pm). Women - Sijabulile v Flamingo (10am). The games are at KaBokweni Stadium.