Sporting fanatics in Lusikisiki are in for a Christmas treat as they will witness top teams squaring off for their share in the R50000 prize-money up for grabs in the Mzimkulu Pangindawo Annual Talent Exhibition (Mpate).
The soccer and netball tournament set to take place at New Rest Stadium on Christmas Day, will see teams – starting from U10 to masters – walk away with prizes depending on the positions they win.
Tournament founder Mzimkulu Pangindawo, who owns Little Rock Trading T/A Pamcom Civils, said he started the tournament last year at his birthplace of Cabekwane to fight the scourge of crime and also keep the youth entertained on Christmas Day.
“What motivated me to set up this tournament was what I saw in other locations – how the crime rate was getting higher. Seeing young boys raping our grandmothers, that’s the thing that touched me the most.
“And when I looked around, I saw we still had a bit of control over the youth in my location through sport.
“You can tell a child not to do something that is wrong and they will respect you because you are a coach, for example. This would be unlike meeting them on the streets and then trying to rectify their mistakes there – you’d be in trouble.”
Pangindawo said sport has help maintain a balance of power in their location hence he decided to plough R50000 into this tournament.
“I decided to spend the least I have to help our youth stay as they are or even become better people. I have not been involved in sports since 2009, but then I realised that a lot of things were going wrong because no one was paying any attention to sports.
“As a result, a young girl was raped and killed by local boys. One of them was one of our soccer players, but we were no longer involved in their lives.
“Instead of blaming him for what he did, I blamed us, the older members of the community, because I feel like we’ve let many like him down.”
Pangindawo said another purpose of hosting the tournament was to identify raw talent and try and get them opportunities beyond their reach.
“At the tournament I hosted in 2006, where we had prize-money of R2000, we spotted four soccer players and took them to trials at Bidvest Wits.
“I hosted them for five days, taking them to and fetching them from training. However, we were unlucky because the results didn’t favour them,” said Pangindawo.
“It’s not that they were not talented – they were just lacking tactical awareness which meant that I had to start developing coaches as well so they can train these youngsters.
“We are busy with that now and because we want the next bunch of players we take to trials to be in a better position.”
Pangindawo said most young people thought having a good time meant one has to be drunk or high. He said he wanted to revive the good old days where people kept busy and safe during the festive season without being intoxicated.
He added that his area has produced soccer players, such as Mongi Rula who played for Bush Bucks, as well as others the likes of Tsepo Masilela who come from the Lusikisiki Football Association.
“We want to have more of these young guys making it into top-flight football,” said Pangindawo.