EC pupils reach new heights

Rural community school in Potsdam, Qasana High took the top honours in the Peppy Thomas Foundation (PTF) sport tournament, while Ngcelwane High proved to be better than Mzomhle High at shooting hoops.

SHOWSTOPPERS: Tomani Sanele from Philemon Ngcelwane High distributes the ball in their match against Sandisiwe High at Winter Rose Stadium on Saturday, during the Peppy Thomas Foundation sport tournament.

The PTF, together with the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) and Buffalo City Metro Municipality, hosted the schools tournament featuring debate, netball, soccer and boxing, in which eight schools from Mdantsane and the surrounding areas took part.

The PTF brought soccer legends including Simba Marumo, Tso Vilakazi, Fabian McCarthy, Brendan Augustine, Patrick Mayo, Mark van Heerden, Jabulani Mendu and Tsepo Motsoeneng to the event to inspire the youth to fight for a better future through sport, and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.

In the soccer section, the final was decided through penalties in a toughly contested match-up between Sandisiwe High and Vulamazibuko High, after fulltime action ended with a 0-0 stalemate.

The penalties went to sudden death, where Vulamazibuko scored eight penalties while Sandisiwe only managed to score seven.

In the boxing section, Phikolomzi Nduku from Ngwenyathi High took gold in the male U16 lightweight division after beating Sanele Sogwcayi from Simnikiwe High.

In the female lightweight division, Amahle Magalela, also from Ngwenyathi High, took gold after beating Siba Quqani from Simnikiwe, who took silver.

The netball section was won by Ngcelwane High when they beat Mzomhle High 29-17.

PTF chairperson Thandulwazi Thomas said they achieved their objective, which was to unite everyone in the spirit of sport and education, and to give young children hope for the future.

“The intention is to make this an annual event; our partners [RSR and BCM] have already indicated that they are very happy with the proceedings, and that we should do this again next year,” Thomas said.

“We expect it to be much better next year; obviously when something starts there will be hurdles, and we are looking forward to going back to the drawing board and doing touch-ups, and having a much more powerful event next year.”

Thomas said the RSR donated kit to all the teams, while BCM provided the medals and the foundation organised study guides for the participating schools.

“As the schools will be preparing for the exams very soon, these books will be helpful to the learners; they will get priority subjects guides, like science, maths and languages.”

RSR spokeswoman Babalwa Mpendu said the event was a success and the state entity would look for a way forward in assisting the foundation to make the event an annual tournament.

“In terms of the partnership we have established with Peppy Thomas and BCM, this event is something that has the potential to grow to be an annual event, and if we can get the necessary stakeholders in Mdantsane we can actually change the lives of these kids.”

Former Santos goalkeeper and Tornado coach Tshepo Motsoeneng applauded the gesture of goodwill by the foundation and its stakeholders, but said more could be done in developing raw talent in the province. “We need to start at grassroots level by teaching these kids how to kick for instance. Educators themselves must attend coaching courses …because they teaching kids football. If we can have better U17 and U19 [teams] we will go forward and we will be able to produce talent for our clubs like EC Bees, Tornado and for those that are around here.”

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