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Rural Boys Crowned Champions for Madiba Development League 2017/18 

By: Staff reporter

Thulamahashe Sports Academy is  the first to be crowned the ultimate champions of the 1st Madiba Development Football League Under-15, after defeating the Young Stars Sports Academy 3-1 in the final at the Thulamahashe New Stadium in Bushbuckridge.

The last game between Thulamahashe Sports Academy and Young Stars Sports Academy started off on an interesting note when one of the league host team TSA, gave the Young Stars Sports Academy side an unexpected and unwanted lead in the 6th minute when Reatlegile Sihlangu put the ball into the net.

The league’s mission is to develop South African football through nurturing young talent from grassroots level.

The Chairman of the Madiba Development Football League Adam Sibuyi said “The league has evidently grown in leaps and bounds since its inception 1 year ago. The development of Football that has come from this league is absolutely exciting. Our aim is to change the way that football is both coached and played, we desire that the game becomes more skilful, entertaining and enjoyable both to play and watch. To do this we have to change the way that the game is coached and taught to children. We believe we have made a good start in doing this already with the introduction of the U/15 league and coaching programme, however there is much more work to be done!” 

The Coach of Thulamahashe Sports Academy, Mr Lesley Masinga expressed his sentiments by saying that what made them to win the league was encouraging their players to spend as much time as possible working with the ball and improving their technical skills.

“Our young players often train with us for 10-20 hours per week as well as the work they do on their own. This may sound like a lot of time, but players are not in any danger of over-training or injury as the work is fun and focuses on the player and the ball. I’m delighted, we’re still absorbing everything but after a season of tremendous hard work, to finally clinch the big one is a tremendous feeling,” he said.

Sibuyi added that Madiba Development League programme is no doubt one of the leading grass roots development programmes in Bushbuckridge. "we are proud to be the only club in South Africa with such a programme. Our Academy teams have been extremely competitive in our respective Development leagues, playing an attractive brand of attacking football with high technical and skill levels. This is borne out of the fact that we have been the highest scoring league in the development clusters and have been complemented by many for our attractive style of play.

The Madiba Under-15 Development Football League is done in partnerships between the Madiba Youth Organisation, Rhulani Manzini Foundation and Djuma Private Game Reserves.