Free State schools set for battle

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

Free State's yearly MTN Cup championships gets under way at Koffiefontein on Saturday.

Five high schools - Harmony from Virginia, Ntsu (Ficksburg), Grey College (Bloemfontein), Relebohile (Zastron) and Cedar (Sasolburg) - will battle it out in this year's soccer tournament.

Themba Tshabalala, tournament project officer, said the winner and runners-up would proceed to the national playoffs scheduled for Gauteng from September 26 to 30 at a venue still to be finalised.

Harmony are hot favourites to go through the national playoff because they have acquired a wealth of experience in the competition.

They are the only team from outside Gauteng that had reached the national finals and played against the most feared development academy in the past two years.

In 2005 Harmony lost to Bophelo Impilo, development academy of Orlando Pirates, who went on to represent the country at the Schools World Cup.

Last year they lost to the Safa Transnet Football School of Excellence in the national finals.

"This contest in the Free State is quite interesting and mouthwatering since the other four contenders are new or have been absent at the provincial level for the past three seasons," said Tshabalala.