Games push up ‘zerophobia’

2017-06-08 06:01
Zambia took the tournament trophy, gold medals with Zimbabwe being runners up.

Zambia took the tournament trophy, gold medals with Zimbabwe being runners up.

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The recent Ekasi Unity Footbal Tournament held at Gugulethu’s NY 49 Stadium has the potential to unite young people from the different countries.

This is the view of tournament director Mabandla Kelengeleshe who was inspired by his work in setting up Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) for the Soccer World Cup in 2010.

“The inaugural Ekasi African Unity Community Football Tournament celebrating Africa Day was first hosted on May 15, 2011 and we it’s growing stronger,” enthused Kelengeshe.

He said the reason for celebrating “Africa Day” through sport was to “give recognition to all the brothers and sisters across the African continent that have made a long journey to make Western Cape their home.”

“ The significance of 25th May is a recognition of an “African Liberation Day” where many African countries celebrate the hard-fought achievements of their freedom from European colonial powers,” he said.

Kelengeshe said like most sporting codes this tournament sought to be “a glue that unifies all communities, embracing our foreign nationals in the true African spirit of “Ubuntu”.

We want to rid our communities of unfortunate xenophobic incidents and other unfortunate anti-social ills and our slogan was ‘From Xenophobia to “Zerophobia’”

The tournament was born out of media reports and visuals showing unfortunate scenes of xenophobic attacks in many parts of the South African townships, this was around 2008.

“ It very much looked like what back then in the 80s was known as Black on Black violence to grow the hate among black people and to weaken the fight again the then cruel apartheid system.

“Like most of us while you’re watching these inhumane behaviours you can’t help but ask yourself, “ he said.

Tournament History

In May 2011 Cameroon was the first county to be crowned the very first champs of Ekasi African Unity Football Tournament in May,

In 2012 Burundi were crowned the champs

In 2013: Kenya took the trophy and prize money,

In 2014: team “Tururu” took the tournament trophy, gold medals and the prize money

In 2015: RSA were crowned Champs

In 2016: For the very first time in the history of Ekasi Tournament RSA defended their Title against Cameroon and, so they are still the Reigning Champs.

In 2017: Zambia took the tournament trophy, gold medals and prize money with Zimbabwe being runners up.

Kelengeshe said the tournament sought to be a “springboard” for hope in building better and coherent communities in our country.

Netball was piloted since 2015 with only 4 teams and has since grown to 8 Netball Ladies teams, won by City of Cape Town from the defending champs, “The Fancy Girls” of Gugulethu in 2015 which were runners –up in 2016 and, in 2017 Netball is played as a Knockout Tournament where rookies, “The Stars” took the tournament trophy and medals from “Team Asjiki” – the fat busters.

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