When the smoke has settled on Sunday afternoon at the Moses Mabhida Outer Fields, 16 teams from the Durban region will be looking to join Chippa United as the newly crowned champions of the 2019 Engen Knockout Challenge.
The tournament will start on Friday, 28 June from 11h:30 – 16h:00. On Saturday fixtures start from 10h00 – 16h30 while Sunday’s matches begin from 09h00 -15h00 at Moses Mabhida Stadium Outer Fields.
Entrance to the matches is free.
Winners have a shot at the illusive Champ of Champs title where last year’s champions Royal Eagles joined AmaZulu, Umqhele and Durban FC as teams that have lamented at their missed chance to win it for KZN.
There is a lot that players can look forward to however according to AmaZulu first team young midfield dynamo Sphesihle Maduna (20).
The Ladysmith born player is a product of the Engen Knockout Challenge having progressed from Usuthu’s development ranks which also saw him completing his matric within the Glenwood High School’s bursary program on the year he broke into the first team three years ago.
Maduna speaks fondly of how his journey started with the Engen Knockout Challenge although a semi-final finish was his only best achievement in his last turnout with Usuthu in 2017.
“Playing in the Engen tournament has helped me a lot because that is where I was able to showcase my talent and build confidence in my style of playing football.”
“I’ve also gained life skills such as being a leader, as I was captain of my team. It came with lessons on how to work as a team if you want to achieve something, that also losing is part of the game. You must develop a thick skin,” he said.
The petroleum giants have come full circle since over 17 years ago with a myriad of players counted as alumni from the football spectacle now plying their trade in the Premier Soccer league and overseas.
The need to remain rooted on the ground however remains important for the younger generation which is the gospel AmaZulu head coach Cavin Johnson has drummed down on him and fellow upcoming talents at Usuthu.
Maduna remains sure freedom on the park on the weekend is all the players need to focus on while also heeding their coaches’ instructions and dazzling the supporters during the tournament.
“As a young player myself I found that it is extremely important for us youngsters to be playing in as many tournaments as possible because that’s where people will take notice of your talents, that way you will be able to see how far you are technically as a player.”
“I encourage the boys to give their all, may the best players be recognized and may the best team win,” he concluded.
For updates on the tournament follow Twitter: @SoccerEngen; Facebook: @engensoccer; Instagram: engen.sa
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