Diski in Kasi style

2018-03-29 06:01
Soccer teams battle it out in the dusty pitch at Masakhane Informal Settlement.PHOTO: velani ludidi

Soccer teams battle it out in the dusty pitch at Masakhane Informal Settlement.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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Forget the professional football leagues which you see on TV screens or the local football associations where better facilities are available.

The field is dusty, there are stones and not a single inch of grass is in sight. But the players don’t mind, all they want to do is play soccer.

The playground is called Magogo Stadium and was established for people living in the informal settlements in 2008. Every weekend dozens of people gather here to watch the beautiful game of soccer. This field is located in Masakhane Informal Settlement in Nomzamo.

Asanda Nogemane (49) says this is where “real football” is played. “We are not scared to play in these conditions. We believe if you can play here, you can play anywhere in the world,” he says.

“It is dangerous playing here because one fall could lead to a severe injury. But we have no other way but to try to make the best out of this.”

Teams here bet from as little as R150 per week – at the end of the year, the pooled money is used to host a braai for teams and supporters.

There are around seven informal settlements represented by over 15 teams; sometimes the rivalry has come all the way from the Eastern Cape.

Luyolo Ncaluka (23) says he enjoys playing on this dusty pitch. “It’s so much fun playing here. I have been playing here for three years now and I don’t think I will ever stop,” he reckons.

What is fascinating about this soccer field is that there are no chalk lines to guide players when the balls is out of play – they seem to instinctively know when it happens. There is only a referee and no linesmen, while the goalposts do not have nets.

Not everyone, though, is happy with the field and where it is located. “Every weekend we will hear bang as the ball hits our shacks,” says resident Nombulelo Gxumayo. “It is good for them playing here, but the noise gets to us and weekends are meant for us to relax after a hectic week.”

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