The development of sports in the semi-rural land of Mkhondo Local Municipality received a huge boost when the Department of Culture, Sports& Recreation (DCSR) donated playing attire and match balls to local sports club as part of prizes for winning in their respective codes. The goodies went to the champions in Volleyball, Basketball and Football for men and women at the Mkhondo Club Development Games held at Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo on Sunday 16 September 2018. An absence of Netball teams meant that three (3) out of four (4) planned sporting codes played.
The positives came from the newly established Mkhondo Basketball Federation who managed to stage a full three team tournament, a mix of boys and girls, young and old. It was an improvement from last year’s tournament where they had only three (3) teams playing a 3 v 3 slam tournament. The basketball federation leader Mr Vusi ‘Tali-B Kunene said they used the equipment and kit received last year to start a new team based at Phola Park.
“We have a new team now at Phola Park but the struggle is training facilities that side. The only facility available that side is that of Ubuhlebuzile Secondary which we do not have access to use. We will engage with the school for using their facilities and also train the schools’ kids to play basketball,” he said. The teams received quality equipment which was delivered by officials from the Gert Sibande Regional office of DCSR Mr Alistair Manzini and Miss Dorcas Maleka. They were excited by the quality of balls delivered, they even asked for the name of the supplier where they were bought from.
The playing equipment will help the Basketball Federation to further develop more teams in the area. The champions for this year Young Cavs received a trophy, gold medals and a brand new playing kit. The runners up Mustangs received silver medals and match balls. The third placed team Sonics received bronze medals and match balls. Volleyball had a promising show up of six teams for the first time in the history of the four year old tournament.
The six team volleyball tournament was made up of schools and community teams. The school teams were made up of Inqubeko Secondary, Ubuhlebuzile Secondary, Ndawonye Primary and Harmony Park Combined while the community teams were Smashers Ladies VC and Smashers VC boys. The teams enjoyed playing against each other for the first time and left the courts still wanting to play more games. Ndawonye Primary finished 5th after defeating Harmony Park Combined 2-1 in the 5th&6th place play off. In the finals Smashers Ladies claimed the first crown against Ndawonye Primary winning with 2-0. Inqubeko Secondary also claimed the first ever volleyball trophy when they defeated Ubuhlebuzile Secondary with 2 sets to nil in the boys’ final of the Club Development Games. The winners shared the first prize between boys and ladies. The organisers promised to bring more prizes, match balls and playing kits in next year’s volleyball tournament. There was also talk of another tournament for volleyball teams after the games. All the teams agreed that they will play on a regular basis in order to keep the momentum going.
There was only one netball team that arrived to play only to find no other competitors. The lack of netball activities in Mkhondo was an embarrassment to the local sports governing body the Mkhondo Sports Council.
“I was left dumbfounded because I thought the Netball Federation knew about the games.”
The sport has always featured in the Club Development Games until this year’s edition. According to the chairperson of Mkhondo Sports Council Mr Ntokozo Simelane the Mkhondo Netball Federation through its secretary Mr Jabulani Mabuyakhulu, told him clubs that clubs were not available due to other commitments. “He told me they were not informed about the games and that most clubs will not be available because they will be playing tournaments outside of Mkhondo. I was left dumbfounded because I thought the Netball Federation knew about these games.” he said. A disappointed looking chairperson said the netball games will be postponed to a date to be set by the Mkhondo Netball Federation.