The Hon. Premier of the Free State, Mrs. Sefora ‘Sisi’ Ntombela, pays tribute to Free State soccer team, Free State Stars, for emerging as the winners of the 2017/2018 Nedbank Soccer Cup after recording a 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United during yesterday’s final match.
Ea Lla Koto, as the team is fondly called, made history by not only being the first Free State team to win the tournament, but for also being the best team from outside of Gauteng province to win the Nedbank Cup. Since 2008/09 until 2016/17, no team from outside Gauteng has ever won the tournament.
We honour Free State Stars for the history they have made. Our efforts to assist local sport has indeed borne fruits. We are proud of Ea Lla Koto, the Premier said in jubilation. On this same month of May in 2017, the Free State Provincial Government extended support of R2 million cash boost to both Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars, the only Free State soccer teams currently competing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
At the time, the two teams were facing tough relegation battles in the PSL, and the Free State Provincial Government took a conscious, unprecedented move to advance that financial boost, in an effort to assist these teams to survive their relegation woes.
As part of the cash boosts, both teams entered into Service Level Agreements with the provincial government, tom ensure that there was proper monitoring of expenditure against performance.
We are happy that our support to the two teams is bearing fruits, contrary to criticisms we received at the time. Thanks to our support, as well as the support by the people of the Free State, both teams survived relegation in the previous PSL seasons, and now one of the teams, Free State Stars, has won one of the country’s premier soccer tournaments; ,the Nedbank Cup. We reaffirm our position that, working together, we can do more. We congratulate Free State Stars on their historic victory, the Premier said.
The Free State Provincial Government remains convinced that through sport, we can enhance social cohesion, encourage healthy lifestyles, and develop a better nation. The Free State Provincial Government shall continue to support all sport initiatives in the province, as well as all initiatives that seek to encourage unity and nation-building because, working together with all stakeholders, we can do more to build a better society.
Source: Government of South Africa