Despite the hiccups that saw the South African Football Association and the runners-up of the Vodacom League at each other's throats last week, the Vodacom League playoffs kicked off in high spirits at Matlosana Stadium in Klerksdorp yesterday.
The playoffs were thrown into turmoil after Safa had sidelined the league's nine provincial runners-up from the promotion scrap, contrary to an earlier agreement that 18 clubs were going to participate.
But the nine runners-up challenge the decision and won the case through arbitration.
Duma Ndleleni, North West MEC for sports, arts, culture and arts, officially opened the ceremony and welcomed everybody and made a passionate appeal to the teams to play fair.
Edna Molewa, the North West premier, and Safa NEC member Lesole Gadinabokao graced the occasion.
More than 3000 enthusiastic soccer fans, mostly school children, enjoyed themselves throughout as they danced to the tunes of local groups Zabalaza and Kopano ke Matla Youth.
Also present were Teboho "Tebza" Moloi, the national Under-17 coach, John Tlale, Mlungisi "Professor" Ngubane and Brandon Silent.
Four matches in the Inland Stream took place yesterday in the national playoffs, which will culminate in the finals on Sunday. The tournament is in its 10th year.
In the opening match Carara Kicks went on the rampage, beating Soweto Panthers 5-0 to lead Group A in the Inland Stream.
In the second match, Classic and Mothupi Birds drew 1-1 before Matlosana City disappointed their fans as they went down 2-1 to Barberton City.
Group A (Klerksdorp): Classic v Batau (11am); Mothupi Birds v Soweto Panthers (1pm); Caraba Kicks (bye).
Group B (Potchefstroom): M Tigers v Mafube United (9am); The Dolphins v City of Matlosana (3pm); Barberton City (bye).
Group C (Klerksdorp): Bush Bucks v Rangers (9am); Vasco da Gama v William Pescod (3pm).
Group D (Potchefstroom): Island FC v Louisvale Park (11am); Matat Profess v Mr Price Park (1pm).