IT is that time of the year when the township of Thembisa in Ekurhuleni will come to a stand-still as the Philly’s Games take centre stage from December 16-30.
It is no doubt that this tournament which attract thousands of fans on a daily basis has stood the taste of time since its launch back in 1992, and this year clubs have all the reasons to outplay themselves as sponsors have moved mountains in making sure that winners will get some huge incentives with a total amount of R250 000 to be shared among the top four clubs as opposed to the previous years.
The tournament will be played across the township of Thembisa with the first matches taking place at the Emaseven Grounds in Ivory Park on December 16-18, then Esangweni Grounds from December 19-21, followed by Phomolong Sports Centre from December 22-23, before the focus could be shifted to Esiqongweni on December 24, 27 and 28 and then Mehlareng Stadium on December 29 before the grand finale could be hosted at Makhulong Stadium on December 30.
The tournament spokesperson, Bheki Zondo said this year they are expecting a very competitive competition as the prize-money at stake will encourage clubs to raise their bars.
“We must be grateful and honour the organizers who have shaken every tree and moved every mountain in making sure that they get good sponsorships so that the deserving clubs can get what they really deserve as far as prize-money is concerned,” said the long serving Zondo who has been the tournament’s mouth-piece since its inception back in 1992.
Zondo confirmed that the prizes money for the clubs finishing between the second positions to the fourth has been increased with 100 percent.
“Last year we paid R15 000 each to clubs finishing from second position to fourth, and this year the clubs finishing in those positions will take home R30 000 each,” confirmed Zondo.
The biggest winner will be the winners who will smile all the way to the bank with R160 000 plus a floating trophy as opposed to last year which saw the winner taking home R116 000.
Defending champions, Gomora starts the title’s defense campaign against fellow seeded team, Rebels on Sunday, December 20 at Esangweni Grounds.
The other matches involving seeded clubs on the same day (December 20) are Sgodi v Masokolara, Mad Bulls v The Bees and Amandla v Umlilo.
The tournament kicks-off on Wednesday, December 16, at Ivory Park’s Emaseven Ground with four 1st Leg matches taking place in a Round Robin format which will see Boko Haram taking on Ama BEE at 10am. The match will be followed by the one involving Satori v Dream Team at 12 before Moria Sweepers and Cheese could take on Ama Loveday and Abarondoli at 2pm and 4pm respectively.
The rest of 1st Leg Round Robin fixtures are as follows:
Thursday, December 17, Emaseven Grounds,Ivory Park: G-String v Flamingo (10am), Gunners v Spice Boyz (12pm), New School v Ama Juvenile (2pm), Black Stars v Ranyawa 11 (4pm).
Friday, December 18, the 2nd Leg Round Robin Fixtures, Amaseven Ground, Ivory Park:
Cheese v Abarondoli (10am), Moria Sweepers v Ama Loveday (12pm), Satori v Dream Team (2pm) and Boko Haram v Ama BEE (4pm)