Lace up your boots: Engen Knockout Challenge returns to action

Johannesburg – Lauded as one of the most prestigious youth development football tournaments in the country, the Engen Knock-Out Challenge (EKOC) is back on the fields following a global halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This time around, the competition will be on a lush green football pitch, after holding last years’ proceedings virtually.

The exclusive tournament will get underway on 24 September 2021, with provincial games set to embark in Cape Town and Durban, with Johannesburg’s first leg of the tournament to be premiered from 1 October to 3 October 2021.

Johannesburg will culminate in the Champ of Champs finale from 7-9 October 2021.

In a media briefing held on Tuesday, 21 September, the Engen Knock-Out Challenge (EKOC) announced its key ambassadors featuring football legends such as Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, Stanton Fredericks, Duncan Crowie, George “Mido” Maluleka, and Thabiso Mosia.

Other notable ambassadors include TV Personality Lebo Motsoeli, former Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini and award-winning Journalist Thabiso Mosia.

These ambassadors will be visible in the tournaments in all 3 provinces.

Sunday World engaged with former Kaizer Chiefs player Reneilwe Letsholonyane, about his re-appointment as the brand ambassador once again.

Letsholonyane is famously known as ‘Yeye’, says he is pleased to be recalled and he hopes to set his par high, as he will be mentoring youngsters and honouring the EKOC winner at the final whistle.

“It has been a quite good journey since I’ve been part of the tournament two years back when I joined in 2019,” Letsholonyane said.

“My duty to represent Engen as their ambassador is coupled with being a mentor to these youngsters so they can become better of themselves,” he added.

The football legend said this year’s tournament will be special and unique as it will reach out to ladies’ teams across provinces.

“This year is a special year, as Engen has opened doors for women participation to also take part in the tournament.

We will see these ladies being called up for the national team, this will give a chance to Scouters to see who is needed in their respective clubs,” he said.

“It’s a step forward for young stars to showcase their talents, the talent is in abundance especially with Engen tournament, we will see young lads and lasses contesting,” Yeye told Sunday World.

“We hope that these youngsters might feature in PSL and while others might jet to Europe, I have hope that this tournament will reveal real massive talents,” he added.

Letsholonyane said things will be different this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, as he will be only joined by Stanton Fredericks in Durban, while other ambassadors will split to different cities.

Meanwhile, Engen’s Brand and Sponsorship Manager, Bulela Mkandawire said South Africa’s high youth unemployment and the tournament will target the underprivileged.

“The EKOC is far more than just a soccer tournament as it helps our female and male youth stay motivated and ensures they develop the skills to create and take advantage of opportunities where possible,” he said.

EKOC made its inception in 2003, as it provided many aspiring professional football players with a stage to showcase their skills to a wide audience.

The dates for the Engen Knockout Challenge are as follows:

Engen Knockout Challenge:

Johannesburg – 1 to 3 October 2021

Cape Town -24 to 26 September 2021

Durban – 24 to 26 September 2021

Engen Champ of Champs:

Johannesburg – 7-9 October 2021

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