In 2018 the Mark Fish Foundation (MFF) and Agri Limpopo embarked on an initiative, called the Game of Stars, to establish a sporting culture on farms and in doing so build relationships, uplift skill sets and provide players with a platform to showcase their talent.
This year MFF have hosted five district tournaments where the participating teams played 47 matches and saw a whopping 117 goals to determine the top 10 teams that will battle it out at the finals.
The finals took place on Saturday the 19th October at The Ranch Resort about 36 kilometres from Polokwane.
The district teams which made it through to final rounds were:
Capricorn Midway Fruits
Mopani West Miami Canners (Miami Tigers FC)
Mahela Group (Shaka Bundu FC)
Vhembe Maroi Boerdery
Mopani East Bavaria Fruit Estate
KomatiFruit Richmond Kopano
Sekhukhune Schoonbee Landgoed
In the final match the side of Schoonbee Landgoed team claimed a 2-1 victory against the side of Richmond Kopano to be crowned the Game of Stars 2019 Provincial Champions.
A group of players from the various teams in this tournament were selected by Mark Fish, Eddie Motale and Chris Manoka as part of the AgriUnited team. The AgriUnited team which consist out of 22 players from the 10 farm teams will be playing two matches against Super Sport United on the 15th November at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria.
The above players will travel to Pretoria on 10 November. They will be coached at the Tuks High Performance Centre from 11-14 November and on 15 November will play two friendly matches against SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. They will return to their farms on 16 November.
This is what the former Bafana Bafana player Mark Fish had to say about the day and the AgriUnited team:
“There is a definite improvement in the quality of play since the initiative started in 2018. The football played on Saturday was entertaining, fast paced and exciting. Well done to all the teams that made it to the finals and thank you for the quality of football that was played, it was truly a pleasure to have watched it all. Well done to the winners of the 2019 Game of Stars - Schoonbee Landgoed from Groblersdal and last year’s winners, Richmond Kopano, who ended in second place. Also great to see a new team, Miami Canners from Letsitele, ending in third place”, said Fish.
“The Ranch Resort’s pitches are very well kept and the players, who are used to sand and veld pitches enjoyed playing on it. Thank you to Nico Myburg from The Ranch Resort who organised the sponsorship for the fields. It was also great to see the number of farmers that came out to support their teams, travelling all the way from Musina, Tzaneen and Hoedspruit.”
Fish also thanked the sponsors that came through to make this tournament possible, namely Letsepe Foods, Agri Limpopo, Saai, Farmboek, King Price, Bosveld Landini, Uconomy and Dapper.
“Our focus now lies on getting the AgriUnited team’s camp and friendly matches organised. The quality of players Eddie Motale (Magents), Chris Manoka and I selected are good and I cannot wait to showcase rural talent. And also afford the 22 players with an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime”, said Fish.
Fish said the AgriUnited camp will focus on developing the player’s as individuals (both physically and mentally), teach them what teamwork on and off the field should be, create a spirit of sportsmanship and expose them to what it feels like to be part of a professional team.
“Together we can change attitudes, uplift communities and empower individuals. I welcome anyone that wishes to contribute to this initiative to contact me, email@example.com”, said Fish.