U-14 team booted out of Mille Cup

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

Free State school sports officials have suspended a South African Football Association official who is a team manager and also booted his school out of the Under-14 Mille Cup because of alleged age cheating.

This happened during the last leg of the provincial playoffs. Gift Podi, manager of Mmabatho Primary School in Parys, who is also Safa deputy president of Fezile Dabi region, was suspended for five years for allegedly fielding an overage player.

The school was booted out of the tournament and suspended for a year.

Said an angry Andries "Chippa" Rapulungoane, Free State chairman of schools football: "We took this drastic punitive measure because we mean business when we say cheating and rent-a-player have no room in our sport."

The player, Fezile Motsapi, who is 15 years old, used his younger brother Thabo's birth certificate.

"Fezile is attending classes at Barnard Molokoane while his younger brother Thabo is at Mmabatho," said Rapulungoane. "We never expected someone of Podi's calibre to cheat. He is a Safa member and clearly understands the rules."

Free State will now be represented by Thato Junior Secondary and Koffiefontein Primary School in the national playoffs. Thato beat Koffiefontein 1-0.

Both schools will meet the other 16 provincial finalists in the national playoffs in Durban from September 20 to 23.

The other provincial representative are: Sechichi Secondary School and Khaiso Secondary School (Limpopo); Mehlokazulu and Buhlebemfundo (Kwazulu-Natal); Riet Rivier Primary and Steinkopf High (Northern Cape); Easthigh Academy and Zacheus Malaza (Mpumalanga); Mbodleni and Mzimvubu (Eastern Cape); Thabiso and Lesedi Middle Schools (North West); Cloetesville and Nobantu (Western Cape); Safa Transnet Football School of Excellence and Progress (Gauteng).