Who is the owner of Sekhukhune Football Club? One cannot mention Sekhukhune United without mentioning its owners, for the team’s story is centred around its owners. With a rags to riches story, the two brothers Hlabisi Simon Malatji (the eldest) and Jonas Narekeng Malatji, left their hometown of Sekhukhune, Limpopo, for greener pastures. The story of the brains behind the formation of the Sekhukhune United football club is a typical one of humble beginnings. Siblings Simon (49) and Jonas Malatji (44) are part of a new wave of fresh-faced professional club-owners to have emerged in local football, thanks to the rising trend of club status-buying in the PSL. Born and raised in the far-flung district of Sekhukhune in Limpopo, where opportunities are few and far between, meant there was no hope post-school for the Malatjis. What makes their story even more remarkable is the backdrop to their rise. “There was no hope. All we had was a dream,” says Jonas. In pursuit of a better future, the two brothers left the province of their birth for North West, while pursuing their tertiary education on the side. It was their passion for the security industry that led them to establish Mabotwane Security Services in 1999. It has since grown into one of the biggest black-owned security companies around, providing services across a wide array of industry disciplines. The brothers’ business portfolio includes Malonjeni Guest Farm, a resort in Midvaal in Gauteng, which hosted the official launch of Sekhukhune United last month. “We’re not in football for the money. We just want to change the lives of the people of our community, especially youngsters who dream of playing at the highest level one day,” says Simon of the project he and Jonas established with their uncle, Enos Malatji. The event was attended by traditional leaders from Sekhukhune, including King Thulare Victor Thulare Sekhukhune III of the Bapedi, as well as Limpopo MEC for sport, arts and culture, Thandi Moraka, among other dignitaries. The Malatjis view this as a sign that their club has been blessed by the right people. They pride themselves on Sepedi culture and tradition, which they showcased during the launch. Their totem, a porcupine (noko), is prominently displayed on the club’s crest. The club’s slogan, “Adibahlabe dinoko” (loosely translated as “Stab your opponents with your quills, porcupines”), is inspired by the endangered animal. Sekhukhune came through as African All Stars in the ABC Motsepe League, but bought the GladAfrica Championship status of Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) when a chance presented itself.