Komani Veterans Annual Charity Cup 2021 soccer tournament went with a bang recently when teams from Zwelitsha, King William’s Town (KWT) were announced the champions, taking home the R10 000 grand prize.
Early this year, members of the Komani Veterans, together with South Africa’s first Fifa-certified female soccer referee, Akhona Makalima, visited Khayalethemba Special Care Centre to heed the institution’s call for immediate intervention. The school in dire straits following reports of vandalism over the years. Sicelo Ndara of the Komani Veterans Football Club said because their team was charity-driven, they decided to adopt the school for this year’s annual charity tournament.
“The tournament was great and the feedback we got from the participating teams was positive and encouraging. As much as the tournament was just a one day event, our charity drive with Akhona Makalima does not stop. We will soon have other fundraising initiatives and we thank all the sponsors that made the event a success,” said Ndara.
Eight teams with players aged more than 35 from across the province participated and R3 500 worth of proceeds went to Khayalethemba.
Komani Veterans were beaten 1- 0 by Zwelitsha All Stars in the semi-finals. Kingz SFC, the defending champions, were beaten 1-0 by Gompo Greats. Other participating teams included Transkei Legends from Mthatha, Zwelitsha All Stars, Port Alfred Masters, Ngcobo Legends, Lady Frere Veterans, Komani Veterans and Kingz Social FC from KWT.
Both remaining teams drew a solid 1-1 with Zwelitsha, winning 6 – 5 on penalties. Gompo Greats went home with the R5 000 second prize.
Thabo Nkopo of the Zwelitsha All Stars Sports Club said preparing for the tournament was hard, but theywere happy to have taken the cup. “We knew competition was going to be tough. We were in a period of transformation where we are trying to blend in new players. What helped us is that we rotated our players because of the hot weather. The prize will assist with kit and travelling costs to other tournaments,” he said.
“The under 15 boys who were ball boys were given bags , T-shirts and caps. The charity initiative to rebuild the structure at Khayalethemba is still a process and we will still go back to sponsors to request more donations.”