Clubs still waiting for prize money from Ekhurhuleni tournament

Amateur football clubs in Ekurhuleni are hoping Christmas will come a little earlier this year. Clubs have been waiting for payment for almost six months after participating in the City of Ekurhuleni Youth Football Tournament. The finals were played on Youth Day on the 16th of June at the Tsakane Stadium. But clubs have still not received their prize money.

Clubs in the East Rand were excited to participate in the Ekurhuleni Youth Football tournament in June this year. The Ladies Category was won by Silver Spears. The team is owned by blind coach Dumisani Ntombela. Silver Spears was established back in 1998 but stopped operating in 2016.

34-year-old Ntombela revived the club in December 2021. Like many township teams, Silver Spears doesn’t have any form of sponsorship and Ntombela runs the team with his monthly disability grant. They are still waiting for their R30 000 first prize as promised.

“We played a tournament that was hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni in partnership with SAFA Ekurhuleni regional league. We went there and played our final and then we won, and they just promised us and told us to wait we will get our money and then after two weeks they just gave us a letter that says the process of paying will delay. They just said we must wait for a week we will receive our money. We waited again and when we tried to call them after that they didn’t answer our calls,” says Dumisani Ntombela, Silver Spears coach. The R30 000 prize money was going to be spent on necessities for the club and help them plan better for 2024.

“We need money to pay stadiums for our home games, we need money to pay transport each and every game because each and every away game we pay plus minus R1 500 to R2 000 when we go away and when we going to training we spend plus minus R1 000 per day. In three days it’s R3 000 to collect the players, and then for home games we pay R150 each and every game and we also pay transport to fetch players so that is cost and we even have to buy food for the players,” Ntombela explains.

Despite all the hardships, Ntombela still dreams of owning a professional women’s team in the Hollywoodbets Super League. The 34-year-old lost his sight due to cancer at the age of one.

“Yes, that’s my dream to be the first blind coach in the world in Hollywood bets women’s football league and let me just tell you something there’s no one who will stop me to reach my dream as long as I’m still alive I will be the first blind coach in the women’s Hollywood league,” Ntombela elaborates.

The finalists of the men’s section of the Youth Tournament are also still waiting for their prize money. Eighteen Mambas were due to get R250 000 for winning the tournament, while Ama Ten 10 were supposed to receive R100 000 for finishing as runners-up.

“It is very frustrating, very frustrating the players are calling every now and then we are even scared now that we might not play the next tournament. There are no funds, there’s no trust anymore from the players, you know people will come and rip you apart because of this situation. We have the best players, they are poached now because of this situation, and we cannot get the money to pay them. They played, reached the final played their hearts out for the badge of the team but we have been knocking on the doors of municipality offices, SAFA Ekurhuleni, no answers,” says Muzi Nkosi from Ama Ten 10.

This is a busy period for most teams in the various townships around the country. Most of them are playing in festive tournaments that also carry huge incentives.

Source: eNCA

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