Contest honours living legend

2018-05-30 06:01

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The football fraternity will gather in Bloemfontein this week to honour legendary footballer and freedom fighter Morris “Trinity” Moadira.

He will be honoured with the hosting of a tournament named after him.

The tournament is known as the Lieutenant General Moadira Top 8 Tournament.

Launched on 18 May in Bloemfontein, the event will be played over two days.

The games kick off on Saturday (02/06), culmina­ting in the final round on Sunday (03/06) at the Mangaung Sports Centre.

The tournament is a partnership involving the Lieutenant General Moadira Foundation, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Football Association’s (Safa) Mangaung Local Football Association.

Born and bred in Bochabela, Bloemfontein, Moadira is retired, having served in different positions in the SANDF.

Known as Trinity, he played for the defunct Blue Birds FC, one of the oldest clubs in Bloemfontein.

Moadira fled South Africa after he had served a term on Robben Island following his arrest for political activities.

He was forced into exile in the 1970s, finding refuge in Lesotho, where he played for Maseru Dynamos FC in the senior division. His team played against Lesotho giants, that include Matlama FC and Diodi FC.

In Angola he played for African Spurs FC, until he left in 1982.

Other sporting codes he was involved in, and in which he participated, include volleyball.

In exile he received military training with uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the ANC’s military wing, and on returning home and after the 1994-elections he served in different positions in the SANDF.

Moadira retired from the SANDF in June last year with the rank of lieutenant general.

“The foundation was established with the objective to honour Gen. Moadira for all he has done for his country as a patriot,” said Capt. Melyn Bergman.

“He sacrificed his youth life and adulthood to fight for freedom we are enjoying in our country.

“We deem it fit to acknowledge him by hosting a football tournament.

“This is the best gesture, given his active involvement in the sport during the freedom struggle, when in exile and on return to his country of birth.

“Football has proven to be his shield for protection against the blows of the past regime, escaping from danger.”

Moadira has expressed his appreciation for having a tournament to ho­nour him.

“I’m humbled by the gesture. It is not a case like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who was honoured when she was no more. Being honoured by people is something that will stay in my heart for the rest of my life,” said Moadira.

The initiative is the brainchild of one of Moadira’s juniors, Phumulani Mohami, who, with his peers, have worked to ensure the tournament and the launch of the foundation became a reality.

A total of 16 clubs, which include masters from the SANDF and women, will participate in the tournament.

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