Tough grind up ahead for NFD
The team that will represent the Eastern Cape at the ABC Motsepe national playoffs will have to fight tooth and nail for promotion to the National First Division (NFD) against experienced opponents.
The Eastern Cape provincial champions have been drawn in group B alongside the fierce Mangaung United, and Hungry Lions. Group A has Acorn Bush United, Limpopo and North West. In Group C, there’s Gauteng, Steenberg United and Summer Fields Dynamos.
The football body decided not to name Tornado, who are the Eastern Cape winners, and three more from other provinces at the draw as they still needed to be confirmed as the legitimate winners of the season.
All four winners from the respective provinces, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, and Eastern Cape, still have pending disputes against them.
Tornado coach Tshepo Motsoeneng has welcomed the draw but would not be drawn into the disputes they are currently facing as a club.
The tournament will see the winner of each provincial division comprising of 16 teams advancing to the ABC Motsepe national playoffs to compete for the two available spots in the NFD.
The top two finishers from the two groups will advance to the finals and will gain automatic promotion to the NFD.
Winners of the final walk away with a whopping R1-million, with the losing finalists receiving R500,000.
“We are excited to be going up against clubs like Mangaung. Those are my homeboys, and fortunately enough we know them and Northern Cape Hungry Lions,” said Motsoeneng.
“We’ve seen Mangaung playing in the playoffs, and now the difference will be the coaches, and we have been retained at the club to forge ahead with the mandate.”
When asked to comment on the fact that Tornado was not named as the provincial representatives at the playoffs, the coach reserved his comments.
But Motsoeneng was pleased with his players after all of them visited home affairs to verify their identities. He said no one in the team had false documents.
“We want to fully focus on the task at hand, because we know that we’re safe in that regard. We were doing the verification process for the second time this season, and it came back a 100% positive.
“All my boys are good to go, and that’s a boost to the team, because if a team is found to be in the wrong, Safa can suspend you from football.”
Tornado have been on top of their game this season, hitting two birds with one stone, after they made it to the Nedbank Cup last 16 teams to host Kaizer Chiefs at Sisa Dukashe Stadium, and still managed to defend their league title.
“We’ve had a busy season, but we pulled through with hard work.”..