Sporting legends of struggle years honoured

2017-04-27 06:00
Minister Anroux Marais with Velile Diba.

Minister Anroux Marais with Velile Diba.

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In their heydays they packed stadiums to capacity with crowds cheering each of their moves, now in their twilight years, four Kasi sporting legends have been honoured.

The four were feted during the 12th annual Sport Legends Awards hosted by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) to honour people in identified sport codes for the roles that they played in ensuring the promotion, growth, development and transformation of sport in their communities.

The Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Meyer hailed these gentlemen saying often they performed these roles under difficult circumstances and with minimal resources.

“Often there was little institutional support and they had to make huge personal sacrifices.

These sportsmen and sportswomen became synonymous with sport in their

communities, their province and their country,” she said.

Meyer said they had become our legends.

The first Annual Sport Legends Awards Ceremony was held in 2005 and has grown considerably since then.

The nominees for the awards were proposed by members of the public and sport communities and selection was based on rigid criteria.

“The Western Cape Government acknowledges their contributions and bestows upon the title of Sport Legend.

Individually and collectively they have played a significant role in shaping sport in our province.

They worked tirelessly to develop the administrative and technical expertise required to ensure that sport is administered professionally and within the traditions of true sportsmanship.They understand that sport is a powerful platform on which to build character, community and social inclusion. They have inspired many a sportsperson,” concluded the Minister.

These are our sport legends:

Fezile Peter Mali: Fezile started as Secretary of Flying Eagles Rugby Club in 1960, a position he held until 1972.

During this time he organised tours to the Eastern Cape, to take on the likes of Busy Boys and Spring Rose Rugby Clubs, as well as a tour to Italy.

Fezile was also a delegate to the South African Rugby Board under the late Dr Danie Craven. Sadly, he passed on last month.

Velile William Diba: Velile started his sporting career at school level in 1962.

He rose to the highest level of Black rugby when he was selected to the Leopards. He was awarded his Springbok blazer and the legendary Lagunya Rugby Award.

Velile, who has retired, has given back to his community by coaching the local rugby club.

Samuel Sonny Gxilishe: Samuel started his sporting career in 1963 in Khayamandi, Stellenbosch.

During his rugby career, he represented Boland as well as the Leopards (the representative national side of the South African Rugby Board during Apartheid) in 1972 and 1975 respectively.

He continues to give back to the community as a spiritual leader. Although he retired from Olympic Gugulethu Rugby Club in 1979, he has inspired and motivated many Black rugby players, including some who have achieved their Springbok colours.

Andrew Lebohang Phokeng: In 1988 Andrew started coaching boxing at the Khuthele Industrial School in Paarl.

In the same year, he was selected as a national coach of the team competing in Cameroon at the All Africa Games.

In 1994, he was a founding member of the Western Cape Open Boxing Organisation (WCOBO) and the Cape Winelands Boxing Organisation.

In 2002 he became a qualified national referee and judge. Andrew went on to officiate in Mozambique at the Mandela Cup where boxers from Germany and the Seychelles competed.

He is currently the head coach of Bonnytown CYCC, a board member of WECSA and President of the Western Cape Open Boxing Organisation.

Mziwonke Michael Nomjila: Mziwonke started his sport career in 1967 at the Zolani Centre.

He received a trophy for first prize in a bodybuilding competition and a gold medal in Bloemfontein for most improved golf player of the year. Although retired, he still gives golf lessons to juniors.

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