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Inside SAFA’s Engen Knockout Challenge BOMBSHELL

SAFA CEO Advocate Tebogo Motlanthe has shed light on SAFA’s recent BOMBSHELL on the famous youth tournament – the Engen Knockout Challenge, writes Joshua Hendricks.  

Motlanthe issued a statement on 13 April 2023, categorically stating that the association “has not granted permission for the Engen tournament to commence in every designated area within South Africa.” 

The memo further said, “Teams, officials or any SAFA members are not allowed to participate until written approval has been granted”.


It has since emerged that the Engen KO had been running without being sanctioned by the country’s football mother body. 

FARPost has gathered that attempts to bring Engen officials to the table have failed in the last two years.

“The Engen has got a whole history. When we got into office, we found it [Engen KO Challenge],” explained an insider.

Kaizer Chiefs after winning the SAFA Engen Challenge
Kaizer Chiefs are previous winners of the Engen Knockout Challenge

“We always asked the question – how does the Engen happen? We were told it was a national competition, so we thought it was fine. 

“Engen scheduled a meeting two years ago with the Vice-President of SAFA, Mr Gladwin White. He waited for the Zoom meeting, but Engen did not pitch. 

“They then promised to come back to reschedule the meeting properly.”


While waiting for the meeting, SAFA were taken aback when they saw Engen continue with the tournament.

“There was an agreement that we would not disturb anything. So the tournament went on until a meeting was scheduled for this year.

“It was scheduled for the 31st of March, a week before Easter. Engen pulled out at the last minute. 

“So they weren’t there, then a report was drafted and a report tabled, saying for the second time Engen didn’t pitch. The regions sought answers from the chair and vice-chair of the competitions committee on what was happening.”

SAFA CEO told FARPost that Engen had approached them after receiving the letter, and a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, 18 April.

“After receiving the letter I issued, they’ve now come back to the table. There will be a meeting on Tuesday to discuss with them,” Motlanthe explained.

“They were going to LFAs and not talking to SAFA national because what we are saying, even if you want to work with our members, come to us. There are issues which are national by nature, especially if your footprint is in more than two provinces, it then adds the national dimension.”  

engen knockout challenge
Engen Knockout Challenge has been running without being sanctioned by SAFA


He added that the meeting would be virtual and is hopeful “issues can be ironed out for the good of the game”. 

The Engen tournament has been running in South Africa for the last two decades. 

However, SAFA has never sanctioned the competition, and the organisers have run it privately. 

The annual event aims to provide a platform for young people to develop their skills. Efforts to get a comment from Engen were fruitless as they never responded to an emailed enquiry.

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