R1m Kay Motsepe kicks off today

WATCH OUT: Khabo Zondo
WATCH OUT: Khabo Zondo

THE battle for the R1-million first prize in the Sanlam Kay Motsepe Under-19 Soccer Cup - which is the biggest-paying development tournament - gets under way in Bloemfontein today.

Organised by the South African Schools Football Association, the tournament will feature 18 schools - two from each of the nine provinces.

The provinces will be represented in this tournament sponsored by Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe by their winners and runners-up, according to Sasfa general secretary Steve Pila.

The matches will be played at the Clive Solomon Stadium and the Mangaung Outdoor Sports Centre, with the final scheduled for the Central University of Technology Stadium on Saturday.

One of the schools representing Free State, Harmony High, are the reigning champions after winning the tournament on home soil last year.

Transnet Football School of Excellence, guided by former Bafana Bafana assistant coach Khabo Zondo, have made it loud and clear they want to return to their winning ways by winning this tournament.

Zondo said: "The team is ready and we are looking forward to a great tournament.

"One of the first things we worked on after joining the school at the beginning of the year was to focus on their confidence.

"They are now more focused," said Zondo, who has also coached Premiership clubs like Tembisa Classic, Bay United and Bloemfontein Celtic. Excellence captain Thuto Mphahlele said: "This is a great platform for us to shine and secure contracts with Premiership clubs because their talent scouts will also be in Bloemfontein. I'm doing Grade 12 and I want end my career at the school with a bang by winning the tournament."

The tournament was introduced by Motsepe through his foundation in honour of his late mother Kay. The runners-up in this tournament will receive R600000 and the third-placed school will get R500000.

Sasfa boss Mandla "Shoes" Mazibuko, who is also the Safa deputy president, has urged the people of Free State to support the games.

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