Communities hail soccer games to foster social cohesion

Bevhula squad is the champions of the Gidjana/Bevhula games

The Village Voice

Soccer games between two communities neighbouring the Kruger National Park and in the buffer area are expected to go a long way in fostering relations between the communities.

Soccer games on Saturday took place between teams from Magona, Mashobye, Nghomunghomu and Bevhula in the Collins Chabane Local municipality.

Bevhula became champions of the Gidjana/Bevhula soccer games after they beat Mashobye 3-1 in the first semifinal and beat Magona 2-1 in the finals to bring the bacon home. On the other hand Magona reached the finals after Nghomunghomu, who were leading 3-1 walked out for disciplinary reasons. That was after two of their players were given red cards for foul play. There were also lady teams from the areas and their results could not be verified but the time of going to press.

The Bevhula lads are the winners of the Gidjana/Bevhula tournament

The spokesperson of the tournament Dungalizwe Hudson Nxumalo said the games were aimed at fostering unity for the communities bordering the parks. “The games are aimed at making us one rather than rival communities, “he said. He said if they are together they stand to gain a lot, including partnership with the park. “”There are no jobs and if together as the communities agree for a buffer zone partnership with the park, our people will get jobs,” he said, adding that the games were sponsored by his brother and businessman Mutshutshu Nxumalo who has donated jerseys for teams in Mashobye, Magona and Nghomunghomu, the three areas under the Gidjana traditional council.

Magona ladies players Chauke Goodness and Siphiwe Hlongwane (goalkeeper).

“One day we could also produce professional players from our areas, “said Nxumalo. The games also served as the poor man’s fiesta in the soccer starved areas.

Nxumalo said the games will be an annual affair. He said come December, there would be the SDW Nxumalo, also an annual tournament named after the late leader SDW Nxumalo who was the leader of the community and at one time was the chief minister of Gazankulu homeland. The late SDW Nxumalo was also in Cape Town as an MP in the ANC ticket from the 1994 democratic elections.

Magona ladies with the leader Gezani Samuel Nghonyama

Nhlanhla Maboko, who was the manager of the victorious Bevhula squad, said he valued the relationship between the communitie3s more than anything else. “We should have gone to another more lucrative tourney but we felt this one is more important because of its aims,” he said. “It is good for communities neighbouring the park to speak with one voice and we have so many young people who are unemployed. We also do not have any sponsor for our teams maybe when we come together we can get assistance, “he said. He also said he thanked the sponsor of the tournament for having the welfare of community members at heart.

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