Ncuva team dreams of Tokyo Olympics

Some of Limpopo’s Ncuva players (from left) Molatelo Ramphaka, Phuluso Senyola, Peter Malapani, Ruth Mavundza, Lesly Hlungwani, Dumisani Matsimbi and team manager Raxon Mathosi
Some of Limpopo’s Ncuva players (from left) Molatelo Ramphaka, Phuluso Senyola, Peter Malapani, Ruth Mavundza, Lesly Hlungwani, Dumisani Matsimbi and team manager Raxon Mathosi

The Limpopo Ncuva Team is over the moon about their nomination as a finalist in this year’s SA Sport Awards, which will be held in Mangaung on November 11.

They have been nominated in the indigenous games team of the year category with Drie Stokkies Group from the Western Cape and a Morabaraba Team from KwaZulu-Natal.

According to ulwaziprogramme.org, Ncuva is a board game in which “four rows of four holes are dug in level ground [making a total of 16 holes]. A line divides these rows, with two rows of holes on each side of the line [making a total of eight holes on each side].

“The board can be enlarged to fit six rows of four holes [24 holes] or 12 rows of four holes [48 holes] or even more. A line divides the rows with an equal number of rows on each side of the line, mirroring one another.

“Two stones or morula pips are placed in each hole, ranging from 32 stones or pips for each player on a board with eight holes, to 384 stones on a board with 192 holes.

“These stones or pips are also called ‘cows’ [tinkhomo].”

Team manager Raxon Mathonsi said the Limpopo Ncuva team’s ambition was to play in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Ncuva game. Picture: www.jsltv.co.za

The team has travelled extensively since 2008 because as they have been invited to teach Ncuva in other countries around the world. They visited South Korea in 2008,
Germany in 2012 and Indonesia in 2016.

Mathonsi (59) started playing Ncuva as a hobby and said he began taking the game seriously two years ago.

“We are fortunate in Limpopo because this is where Ncuva originates. And we have won a number of titles, including at last month’s Limpopo Sports Awards.”

Mathonsi, from Giyani, explained how the game is played.

“In Ncuva, we use mathematics to outsmart one another. It’s all about calculating how you are going to eliminate your opponent’s stones [or pips] and also defend yours.”

The Limpopo team consists of three men and three women. The men are Dumisani
Matsimbi, Peter Malapani and Lesly Hlungwani, with coach Molatelo Ramphaka. The women are Ruth Mavundza, Lina Mawila and Phuluso Senyola.

. Fans can determine only one category in the SA Sports Awards – the sports star of the year. Send an SMS with A, B, C, D or
E to 33616. The nominees are: A. Caster Semenya; B. Chad le Clos; C. Luvo Manyonga; D. Zolani Tete; and E. Percy Tau.

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