Soccer fever hits rural communities
A total of 118 teams participated in the first-ever soccer tournament that drew the interest of both males and females in both the Mkhondo and Pixley ka Seme local municipalities.
The main objective was to draw in the rural communities into the mainstream hype around the 2010 FIFA World Cup that gets underway in South Africa from June 11 to July 11.
It is thanks to the Walk-a-about conducted by Premier, Mr David Mabuza and national minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti in Donkerhoek among communities which enshrined upon the authorities that rural folk needed to be encompassed in all deliberations, hence the launch of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP).
During those deliberations, it surfaced that among the service delivery needs of rural folk, was the lack of sporting facilities, among others, hence the launch of the tournament
It was also against the background that both Mkhondo and Pixley ka Seme had been embroiled in service delivery uprisings during the past months, that the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration felt a dire need to introduce a social cohesion strategy among these communities.
Sport was identified as one component that could be utilized in re-establishing stability among these communities, and moreso, with four games to be featured at the Mbombela Stadium during the forthcoming world cup, it was felt that the teams should be pitted against each other in order for the winning team to be afforded an opportunity to attend some of the games during the world spectacular.
As rightly stated by Mkhondo local municioality’s Speaker, Cllr Philisile Langa during the semi-finals draw held at the Mkhondo municipality chambers, “It’s good that we’re holding hands together the game of soccer, which is a unifier of communities.
“The competitive spirit that exists since the tournament got underway, is tremendous and commendable, indeed. It’s exactly what we wanted to achieve through this tournament.
“I recommend that we make this an annual event, as a united community leads to positiveness in outlook about the very needs of that very society. Soccer is a good game, we must be part of it and I urge you to support Bafana Bafana during the world cup,” she said.
The successfully-organised tournament, got underway on April 24 and held its semi-finals on May 16 and the finals get underway at the Mandla Magudulela Stadium in Thandukukhanya Township,Piet Retief in the Mkhondo local municipality.
May the best team win and sport be the winner, but ultimately, a united and loving society be created out of the whole exercise.