By CHRIS TOTOBELA
Football fans can look forward to a pulsating festive season with the New Year’s Cup (NYC) return to JD Dlepu Stadium, the legendary home of local football.
Organiser Luyanda Papu said the event would kick off on Christmas Day, and the final would be played on New Year’s Eve.
Sixteen teams from all over the province will compete in this year’s edition. Makhanda will be represented by two-time champions Maru, one-time semi-finalists Sophia Stars and newcomers Abantwana FC.
Some top teams gracing this event include Hereos from Gqeberha, Valgas from Ekomani and Bush Pirates from Addo.
This year’s edition as the NYC will honour Mzuvukile Tom, one of the Eastern Cape’s greatest footballers. Tom played for the Dstv Premiership side Lamontville Golden Arrows and made several appearances for Bafana Bafana. He was one of the most gifted left-backs this country has ever produced and always gave his all on the pitch.
Tom’s benefit game will be played during this tournament and will be joined by several former professional counterparts in this game:
- Patrick Mayo, a former Umthatha Bush bucks, Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport player;
- Former Bush Bucks legends Bulelani Matroos and Mzunani Mgwigwi;
- Former Bafana Bafana star Elrio van Heerden, who also played for several clubs in Europe.
Makhanda Legends will also feature in this event, taking on SADA Legends.
Papu said there would also be a female football game in honour of Tom, featuring the top Sarah Baartman regional side and the only local women’s team African Connection.
The NYC launch will be held on 23 December. Local football fans are itching to see their favourite players in action.