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Still all to play for at this stage in wide-open LFA Premier League

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There is an unsponsored junior feeder league to the Premier league as well as an allied football development branch

Picture: Xinhua/Han Yan

The Sol Plaatje LFA (Local Football Association’s) newly launched Premier League is still wide open with a third of games completed thus far in its debut season.

The LFA earlier this year slashed the cumbersome 36-member strong league to 18 clubs and simultaneously, for the first time, provided for making prizemoney available to the eventual league winners. The cash prize of R15 000 has at this stage been pledged by senior officials of the league, while concerted efforts are afoot to find a commercial sponsor for the conference.

Clubs that did not make the cut into the Premier League have been accommodated in one of two ways. There is now an unsponsored junior feeder league to the Premier league as well as an allied football development branch.

The teams in the junior feeder league, the development division as well as a promotion league keeps fluctuating due to various factors but numbers in the region of 60 teams. Many teams are routinely turned down at registration for non-compliance with LFA statutes, while many others prefer to remain outside of a formal association.

The renamed Diamond Footballers FC leads the pack of 18 teams after playing 10 games. They have thus far notched up nine wins and have 27 points. A more prominent member of the Premier League, Sol Plaatje University FC, sit at position five after eight games with 18 points in the bag.

Ivory Park FC lags at the bottom of the 18 team log having not won a single game; in fact they have not even drawn a match, they have lost all 10 fixtures they have played.

The fact that the LFA has managed to stage 170 games this season, at last count, is remarkable in that they are not recognised by any SA Football Association structure in the Province. The LFA had been on suspension for about three months this season while a boardroom wrangle raged on between itself and the regional Safa authority over the correctness of the association’s books, which were handled by a former LFA management group.

The suspension has since been lifted pending negotiations between the LFA and Safa in the region.

The LFA has also taken the unusual step of insisting that all its Premier League matches must be played on grassed surfaces of which there are less than a handful in both Galeshewe and Kimberley.

For now The Galeshewe Stadium hosts the majority of the LFA games, while the AR Abass Stadium, the De Beers Stadium, the West End Club as well as the Astroturf in Galeshewe hosts some fixtures.

The fenced complex in Kutlwanong (Cub 2000) has been off limits to the Association because of its unacceptably poor state. The facility needs extensive repairs to the dressing rooms and the playing surface.

The LFA have announced plans to, during the middle of next year, stage a national inter-LFA tournament featuring sister associations from several provinces around the country. They have been part of this informal arrangement now since taking office in 2015.