The stakes for secondary schools will be higher in the Lemo Mall Schools Football Tournament in the 2019 edition.This followed the commitment by the sponsor to increase prize money by approximately 50% – raising the bar of the competition and meaning schools finishing in the top three positions will share R60 000 in prize money. Freddy Kenney, managing director of the sponsorship, announced this exciting news on the eve of the closing ceremony of the 2018 tournament held at the HTS Louis Botha in Bloemfontein on Friday (14/09). In 2019 the overall winner is guaranteed R30 000, the runner-up R20 000 and the third position R10 000.Prizes will be sporting attire for the three top schools, in line with the terms and conditions of the tournament. “The tournament has surpassed expectations, hence the decision to increase the prize in 2019. I thank the Department of Education for a job well done,” said Kenney. “We are also doing so in golf, the sport that I’m very passionate about. “We are investing in these sporting codes because they are programmes aimed at developing youth, the future of this country,” he said. For 2017 and 2018 the competition was sponsored to the tune of R35 000 in total. The overall winner in both editions received R20 000, the runner-up R10 000, while the third place achievers received R5 000. HTS Louis Botha won both the 2017 and 2018 editions and took R20 000. The double champions defeated Brebner High School by 3 – 0 in the final round played on Friday. The champions beat the Navalsig High School by 2 – 0 in the 2017 final. The Tsoseletso High School got R5 000 after beating the Atlehang High School by 2 – 0 to win the 2018 third prize.Schools received a cash injection in the two years of the tournament and 24 secondary schools within the Greater Bloemfontein gained from this. Welcoming the good news of the increase of incentives, Masedi Sesele, the senior manager of schools football of the provincial Department of Education, said the department has also taken the decision to have all secondary schools within the Motheo District compete in the tournament. “We will have over 300 secondary schools in 2019 competing for the championship,” said Sesele.