BLACK Leopards chairman David Thidiela has welcomed the arrival of new National First Division (NFD) side Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC.

Following years of dominance in Venda as the only professional soccer team, Thidiela is happy to have some competition, which he is certain will prove to be healthy for both.

Tshakhuma, who plied their trade in the ABC Motsepe League last season, moved up after the owners bought the NFD status of Cape Town based Milano United FC.

“This is good news for our Vhembe district,” said Thidiela, whose side opens the 2017-18 season away to Mbombela United at KaNyamazane Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

“I am happy for Tshakhuma and wish them all the best.

“My hope is that we will soon have another professional team in the Musina and Giyani area.”

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila will kick off their NFD campaign with a trip to Cape Town, where they face Cape Town All Stars at Athlone Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

Thidiela said Tshakuma’s arrival in the NFD would help ease their burden of being the only representatives of the Venda area for years. Leopards narrowly missed out on gaining promotion to the PSL in June.

“I am sure that everyone in the Vhembe district is happy for Tshakhuma,” he added.

“This will help with the development of football around Venda. First youngsters could only turn to us if they wanted a chance to play professional football. We could not accommodate all of them. Tshakhuma will help with that too.”

Thidiela estimated that Tshakhuma’s addition to the NFD would also save his club more than R200 000 a month. “You know, a trip to Cape Town costs a lot and we are saving all that money now.

“The R200 000 for travel to Cape Town includes accommodation, transport, food and other logistics. So I am happy to have Tshakhuma on board.”

Thidiela said he was willing to help or advise inexperienced Tshakhuma president Lawrence Mulaudzi and his management team.

He said: “I have been in football for most of my life and I am happy to give advice to anyone who asks for it. I am part of the Premier Soccer League executive and know we need to develop football in the country.”