SAFA Second Division

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SAFA Second Division
Country  South Africa
Confederation South African Football Association
Founded 1998
Divisions 9
Number of teams 144
Promotion to National First Division
Relegation to U21 SAB Regional League
Website Official Site
2010–11 Vodacom League

The SAFA Second Division, currently known as ABC Motsepe League for sponsorship reasons, and previously known as the Vodacom League between 1998-2012, was founded in 1998 as the current Second Division and the overall third tier of South African football (soccer). The competition is regulated by SAFA, and until 2012 had been sponsored by mobile telecommunications company Vodacom.

Currently it features 144 teams in total, divided into 9 divisions, borderly decided by the 9 geo-political provinces of South Africa: Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West. This means, that each Provincial division contains 16 teams as standard. The winner of each Provincial division qualifies for the annual Promotional Play-offs, where the winners of two streams, will get promoted to the National First Division. In each Province, the two lowest ranked teams by the end of the season, will be relegated to U21 SAB Regional League, which in return will promote two play-off winners from the Regional Championships.

An important rule to note, is that all clubs in South Africa also are allowed to compete with youth teams (U19/U21) and/or a Reserve team in a lower SAFA league. If a club opt to field such teams, the U19 teams will start out at the fifth level in the U19 National League, while U21 teams or Reserve teams will start out at the fourth level in the U21 SAB Regional League. If any U19 team win promotion for U21 SAB Regional League or SAFA Second Division, this promotion is fully accepted. No club are however entitled to field two teams at the same level, and rule 4.6.4 of the SAFA regulations states, that if the mother club play in the National First Division or Premier Soccer League, then the highest level these additional Youth/Reserve teams are allowed to compete, will be the SAFA Second Division. In such cases, where a non-promotable team manage to win their regional division, the ticket for the promotional playoffs will instead be handed over to the second best team in the division.[1]

In the 2010–11 season these promotional restrictions mean, that: Ajax Cape Town U19, Bay Academy, Bid Boys, Celtic Colts, SuperSport T.H. Academy and Mitchells Plain United, were all accepted to play in the league, but without any possibility of further promotion.

In March 2014, the Motsepe Foundation signed a five year deal for the naming rights of the competition worth 40,000,000 ZAR. Patrice Motsepe named the competition in honour of his late father, Augustine Butana Chaane Motsepe.[2]

Provincial divisions[edit]

The 9 geographical provinces of South Africa, each have a local division in the SAFA Second Division. These divisions belong either to the Inland Stream or Coastal Stream, which are used to place the provincial winners into two round robin groups, at the promotional play-off stage by the end of the season. The Coastal Stream comprises: Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Western Cape; while the Inland Stream comprises: Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North-West. In previous years, until August 2008, the Free State province belonged to the Inland Stream.

Map of the two streams in the SAFA Second Division.

Provincial winners[edit]

Coastal Stream[edit]