Soccer unites generations

2015-08-04 06:01
“S squad” was crowned this year’s “kings of UWC” soccer champions. They walked away with R5000 for their efforts on Sunday.

Angelo kalmeyer

“S squad” was crowned this year’s “kings of UWC” soccer champions. They walked away with R5000 for their efforts on Sunday. PHOTOS: Angelo kalmeyer

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The sun was out, fun was had and at the end of the day, a group of eight men walked away with a winner’s cheque of R5000.

In what started as an innocent kick-about between fellow students on the “dell”, outside the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) cafeteria in 2004, it has now flourished into a much anticipated “kings of UWC” event.

The annual event pits students, alumni and all those associated with the university in a 5-a-side soccer tournament.

The day was not only to share skills on the pitch, but to also share stories of years gone by, reinforcing the bonds which were first forged as students.

And while there was an element of fun attached to the event, the competition was red hot as 16 teams battled it out.

In the end, “S squad” rose to the challenge, beating all comers to the title.

Chad Hare, captain, could not hide his elation.

“I can’t explain how I feel, we are just happy that we did this together.

“We have been friends for as long as we have been here, for six or seven years. We all know each other through soccer, so it’s a brotherhood. We are a family.”

The team’s Fabian “Takka” Wareley took home the Lyle Arendse player of the tournament award, named in honour of one of the tournament’s founding members.

Hilton Stroud, one of the tournament’s organisers, said he has seen the event grow from strength to strength whilst holding onto the spirit which it is synonymous for.

“It is also a time where guys from old, who haven’t seen each other since their time at campus, came in and met each other, braaied and socialised.

“Even though they didn’t win the game, they really enjoyed the fact that they had the opportunity to catch up with each other as they come from all around the province. So really it has been a success on both the soccer side as well as the social side.”

Prof Tyrone Pretorius, UWC rector, enjoyed the Sunday spectacle, while also realising the importance the event plays in the life of the university.

“It’s clearly been a fun day and the weather played along and from what I can see everyone had fun. But more than the fun, it’s student, it’s staff, it’s also our alumni and it’s great to see their passion for the university.

“It’s good for the university. It’s good for the university’s reputation and it says a lot that people want to be associated with the university in this way.”

Pretorius, without knowing the specifics of the event’s origins, praised the enterprise shown by the founders of the tournament, who were chased off the original field at the “dell” 11 years ago.

“It’s fantastic that what started out as a student initiative has been embraced by the älumni and has become a regular feature on the calendar of UWC.

“That’s the kind of graduates that we want to produce: Graduates that take the initiative, that are creative and take responsibility for their own development,” he concluded.

Fagan Muller, Santos captain and one of the founders of the tournament, reminisced about the days where students put in their own share in the hope of taking home the spoils for a gatsby and their drink of choice at the Barn, but also pointed out the role the tournament has played in his own career.

“I think that if it wasn’t for this, then UWC’s soccer team wouldn’t be so strong. It was playing in this (tournament) that I decided to play for the UWC soccer team, which was prosperous in the end, playing for the universities national team.

“This started it all. In the dell, where friends get together.

“That’s why we make sure that we have us playing here, the Green Dragons. Because we are the only team that is left of the teams that started this. A bunch of boys who thought class was overrated,” quipped Muller.

“It was never the intention to make it this big. It was never the intention to make it one of the events on the calendar, but the camaraderie between all the different teams from the res, outside, inside and guys from all over, everyone wants to be part of UWC and everyone feels like part of the alumni on the day.”

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