The Multichoice Diski Challenge
By Mvangeli Nzuzo
On the 5th and 6th of September 2015, South Africa was treated to the first round of matches of second annual Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa. The MDC is the reserve league of the Premier Soccer League, and after a successful debut season which was in a knockout format, the competition has been extended to take the form of a one round league this season.
It’s no secret that soccer fans want to see goals galore, especially if they’re at the stadium, and the MDC is giving the fans what they want. For example, 16 goals were scored on match-day one of the ABSA Premiership, as opposed to the 24 goals that were netted on the first day of MDC action. Those 24 goals came from 8 matches comprising of six wins and only two draws. Kaizer Chiefs top the log after humiliating recently-promoted Jomo Cosmos 4-0, while the University of Pretoria (the defending champions) also collected maximum points, beating Orlando Pirates 3-1. Mamelodi Sundowns lost 3-1 to another newbie in the form of Golden Arrows. The attendance was also impressive and well above average, especially considering the persistent rain that Joburg endured over the weekend.
Many may look at the MDC for footballing talent, but another aspect to note is the grooming of match officials, journalists as well as coaches. Many former PSL and national team players are now honing their coaching skills in the MDC. Some noteable names are those of Alex Bapela who leads Ka bo Yellow, Donald “Ace” Khuse who is in charge of Amakhosi and Macbeth Sibaya who is head coach of Supersport United. And all of these coaches seem to be encouraging a free-flowing entertaining brand of distinctly South African football. Something that the league’s ambassador Jabu Mahlangu (formerly known as Pule) is happy about. Mahlangu said this is the type of “Kasi Flavour” football is exactly what we need because it is entertaining to watch. But Shuffle is quick to add that dribbling and show boating, which is the hallmark of Kasi Flavour, is good as long as it benefits the team and takes the game forward. Lower tier leagues around the world are known to harness raw talent, so indeed the Multichoice Diski Challenge is that training ground. And we are waiting with baited breath to see the successes of this reserve league.