A Cacadu soccer team, Amavarara, received financial support to the tune of R150 000 from the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to assist in the preparation for their Nedbank Cup match against Super Eagles in Mdantsane last Saturday.
Last year, Amavarara founder and chairman Lusapho Mzwakali approached the ANC Chris Hani regional leadership and the Youth League seeking financial help when the team could not afford to feed and pay players, cover travelling costs and other expenses, but had heard nothing since.
The financial boost by CHDM came in the wake of the local team qualifying to participate in the national competition, the Nedbank Cup, and receiving support from the Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) which hosted the game.
The game was hosted in East London due to soccer fields in the Chris Hani area not meeting PSL standards, much to the disappointment of local sports enthusiasts who had raised concerns about the state of sport facilities in the area.
CHDM mayor Wongama Gela said it was embarrassing that the national competition match could not be played “at home” due to the deteriorating sports facilities.
“It is even more embarrassing that another municipality is making council resolutions to support our team, yet we are here. We have not done anything for this team and that does not reflect well on us. I understand that the municipality is faced with financial challenges, but we have to assist our own product.”
Deputy mayor Noncedo September-Caba said it was important for the team to be supported as it served as an inspiration to other young people to be involved in sport.
Ngcobo mayor Siyabulela Zangqa said the district municipality would miss out on the financial spin-offs the match would bring if it were not played locally.
“We need to be careful about the team losing its identity if other people claim it as their own. We must take a stand against our ailing sports facilities so that teams can play home at home. The economic gains the match can bring to BCM are immeasurable and we will miss out on all that due to our own mistakes and leaders.”
Mzwakali confirmed they had received money from the municipality which went towards purchasing kit and other necessities.
The chairman said he was thankful to the district municipality for the assistance. However, after the game, which the local team won 2-1, rumours started circulating that the CHDM funds had not yet been transferred to the team.
CHDM spokeswoman Thobeka Mqamelo said supporting the team was recently endorsed by council as it viewed youth sport programs as an avenue to foster positive development and decrease risk of problem behaviour. “CHDM is proud of the performance of the team which has now been selected to play among reputable teams in the country,” she said.
Mqamelo did not confirm whether the funds had been deposited into the club account or not.