Executive Mayor Cllr Mzwandile Masina announced a staggering R190 000 winner's cheque for this year's Mayoral Kings of Diski Challenge champions. Runners up pocket a cool R90 000, while the rest of the six participating teams stand to walk away with R20 000 each.
At the draw in Germiston on Wednesday (25 April), Mayor Masina said the prize money had been increased to promote competiveness among the clubs and improve the standard of the tournament, which takes place at Tsakane Stadium this weekend.
"When we came up with this tournament we did so because we remain concerned that Ekurhuleni is no longer producing enough talent to represent us at Premier Soccer League level and even Bafana Bafana, yet our history tells you that we were once the mecca of football. We want to change this and this tournament is the beginning of the steps we are prepared to take."
Ekurhuleni has in the past produced soccer stars such as Scara Ngobese, Jabu Mahlangu, Teenage Dladla, Pollen Ndlanya, Zeblon Sputla Nhlapo, Skapie Malatsi and Page Mahlangu.
Plans were afoot to ensure that the tournament becomes even bigger going forward while not changing the posture and culture of the off-season games adopted over the years.
The competition is the brainchild of the executive mayor, having been introduced to bring back the culture of football in the previously disadvantaged areas. The competition pits winners of the Festive off-season tournament, and the six teams to battle it out in the three-day tournament are:
Amandla FC (Philly's Games);
Ditlou FC (Pollen Festive Games);
Wattville United (Imbewu Entle Festive Games);
Overland FC (Diski 9 Nine Games);
Aston Villa (Scara Ngobese Memorial Games); and
Bazingeli (DEFY Ekurhuleni Games).
A local organising committee made up of the City, various tournaments organisers and the local SA Football Association is in charge of the smooth running of the tournament at the Tsakane Stadium, starting at 09h00 on Friday, 27 April. The finals will be held on Sunday.