Home competition discipline Aztec Masters Football Club: A journey of resilience, unity, and aspiration

Aztec Masters Football Club: A journey of resilience, unity, and aspiration

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Spearheaded by Omphemetse Patrick Mabula, fondly referred to as ‘Stoppa’ Mabula, the Aztec Masters Football Club has upheld the virtues of respect, love, unity, Christian principles, and dignity, embodying a legacy that extends beyond the city’s boundaries.

Aztec Masters have ended top of their Stream in the Masters League, and will be fighting to come out as the ultimate top team of the 2023 season in the two-legged final. Picture: Danie van der Lith

After a hard-fought season on soccer fields all over the City of Kimberley, two formidable teams have emerged victorious in the fiercely contested Sol Plaatje Masters Football League, ending top of their section of the two-stream League.

Aztec Masters FC clinched the top spot in Stream A, while Juventus FC dominated Stream B. Now, the stage is set for two epic clashes starting this Sunday at 3pm at the De Beers Stadium in Kenilworth Road.

This will be followed by another game, with venue and time still to be announced, and ultimately these games will determine the 2023 Masters League champions.

So, soccer enthusiasts, mark your calendars and make your way to the De Beers Stadium on Sunday to cheer on your favourite team and witness history in the making. Here Danie van der Lith looks at Aztec Masters Football Club, one of the finalists.

NESTLED within the culturally vibrant city of Kimberley, the Aztec Football Club has been quietly leaving its mark on the local football scene for almost four decades, since its establishment on January 15, 1985. Spearheaded by Omphemetse Patrick Mabula, fondly referred to as ‘Stoppa’ Mabula, the club has upheld the virtues of respect, love, unity, Christian principles, and dignity, embodying a legacy that extends beyond the city’s boundaries. Serving as a successor to the defunct Mighty Panthers Football Club, Aztec has evolved into a hidden gem within Kimberley’s sporting landscape.

With their core values as their guiding light, Aztec Football Club united individuals from the community who resonated with their principles. Leading the charge were key figures such as Olehile ‘Whiney’ Manong, serving as the inaugural secretary; Dinkies Lekoma, the treasurer; Tenderson Manyetsa, the Public Relations Officer; Lefty Mojanaga, spearheading marketing efforts; and Daniel ‘Tuani’ Manong, shouldering the responsibilities of coaching. This dedicated group formed the bedrock of the club, setting the stage for its bright and promising future.

The club’s roster was initially composed of players from Panthers FC, Phatsimang College of Education, and other talented individuals from Petrusburg and Bloemfontein, and the club quickly made a name for itself within the community, securing numerous accolades, including victories in the Castle Mini League and the Transnet KO competition.

Over the years, more officials and members joined the club, contributing to its growth. Key figures like Wandile Madlala, who transitioned from secretary to chairman, and coaches Pro Pilane and Slice Nyaba played vital roles in shaping the club’s destiny. The development of junior teams was entrusted to Sir Karabo Seretse and Size, who coached these promising young talents.

Aztec initially set its sights on competing in the Premier League under SAFA’s banner within a decade. Despite encountering numerous hurdles along the way, the aspiration to reach that level of competition remains fervent, even if postponed.

In 2017, the club took a significant step by joining the Sol Plaatje Masters League, with William Zikhali at the helm as the pioneer of the Masters team. This move marked the beginning of Aztec’s journey to establish a robust support system, with passionate fans who became the team’s unwavering ‘12th player’. Their resounding voices and steadfast presence at every game served as a wellspring of inspiration for the players.

Aztec’s debut in the Masters League proved to be a trial by fire, experiencing a resounding 9-0 defeat at the hands of the formidable Diamond Boys. However, the team displayed resilience, ultimately reaching the finals of the annual Easter tournament despite securing a 14th-place finish in the league standings.

Subsequent seasons saw Aztec’s fortunes change for the better. The team won their stream but fell short against the Diamond Boys in the play-offs, finishing as overall runners-up. In the third season, Aztec won their stream once more but lost in the play-off finals to the Young Pirates.

The year 2020 posed unprecedented challenges due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the league’s flow. Nevertheless, Aztec managed to finish first in their stream but couldn’t secure the overall first position due to point differences. In the last season, they won their stream but were eliminated from the play-offs due to the away-goal rule after drawing home and away with SAPS Masters.

Meanwhile, to keep their skills sharpened, Aztecs have also been actively participating in various tournaments, including Reivilo, Finch Mine, and events in Pretoria. And currently they proudly carry the title of reigning champions of this season’s annual Easter Tournament.

Aztec Football Club owes its success to the steadfast commitment of Life President Omphemetse Stoppa Mabula, the present and past players, loyal supporters, fans, and their sponsor, Motswako Lifestyle. Their collective journey serves as a testament to the strength of unity, perseverance, and an indomitable spirit that drives their ambitions.

Embodying the adage, “You are somebody; just work”, Aztec Football Club continues to strive towards the realisation of its aspirations.

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