THE dust has barely settled on the 2019 Maimane Alfred Phiri (MAP) Games and already plans are underway for the next edition.
The tournament celebrates 20 years next year and Maimane Phiri, founder and chairman of the annual tournament, plans to make it a memorable occasion.
But first, the 1998 Fifa World Cup campaigner has to knock on the doors of corporate SA for cash injection.
Putting together the tournament is no child’s play, and a great deal of planning centres around capital as the event caters for the juniors, seniors and masters categories, as well as the women’s division.
Phiri and his organising team celebrated the conclusion of yet another successful final on Sunday.
In an all-Limpopo final, Baroka FC edged Lebash 2-1 to lift the trophy and bag R190 000 in prize money and two pairs of brand-new kit.
For their effort, the runners-up pocketed R105 000.
But all this is made possible by the sponsors and the Good Samaritans who make donations.
“I’m very proud in terms of the support from the sponsors such as Daily Sun, the City of Joburg, African Meter Reading, Bayport, Monflair and Soweto Gold,” said Phiri.
“The most important thing is the support I get from the community and also for the players to be identified and scouted for the NFD and the PSL leagues.
“I once thought of stopping the Games, back in 2009. But then I thought to myself ‘what is going to happen in Alex (development), if I stopped the tournament?’
“I have to dip into my investments to ensure the tournament goes ahead. We are hoping corporate companies will come on board next year.”
The inclusion of women has also been welcomed, in particular Desiree Ellis, who attended the final.
“The national team coach said to me she likes the women’s initiative, but we need the U-17 division as well. I’ve said to her we’ll include the U17 women and you come and select players. So we are playing a big role in development. The idea is to have a kid play the MAP Games from the U-13, U-15, U-17, U-20 right until the seniors and masters.”