A little messiah with a giant heart came to the rescue of Mkhondo Netball by establishing an annual tournament to be played by clubs based in Mkhondo. Sikholiwe Sinegugu Mdletshe (19) introduced a new tournament aimed at developing and promoting netball as a sport of choice for young girls of Mkhondo on Saturday 22 December 2018 at Thokozani Playing Courts, Thandukukhanya.
The games were launched four (4) days after the flop of Mkhondo Festive Cup which was originally scheduled to play on Monday 17 December 2018. The new tournament was launched by Sikholiwe at with four (4) teams participating in the inaugural competition aptly named Girls Got Game Tournament. The teams included Super Falcons coached by Mr Jabulani Mabuyakhulu and the Eagles coached by Mr Sabelo Nkosi both from Mkhondo. They were joined in the games by Windy City NC from Mayflower and Hunters Stars NC from Vryheid in KwaZulu Natal.
The playing court was set up nicely with chairs for the teams benches laid out perfectly at the side of the playing courts. Sponsorship banners gave an indication of a serious event that was taking place especially when viewed from a far distance. The prizes that teams were playing for were also laid out on tables adjacent to the playing area. A sound system provided smooth background music during the games setting an atmosphere as seen during televised professional tournaments.
Netball action from the Girls Got Game Netball Tournament that played at Thokozani Playing Courts, Thandukukhanya on Saturday 22 December 2019.
The four teams involved in the tournament played a mini round robin format with each team playing three (3) games each. Super Falcons emerged victorious after playing the three round of matches and winning all three. The Mkhondo number one team won a trophy, gold medals and two match balls. Windy City NC finished in 2nd place and received a trophy and silver medals plus three (3) match balls to continue practicing their skills.
The other visitors from Vryheid finished in 3rd place winning a small trophy, bronze medals and a brand new kit to assist with development. One of their players also received a player of the tournament prize. The only other Mkhondo team The Eagles NC played with a young and inexperienced side and finished in fourth place. The Eagles team was made up of a makeshift team that was hastily organised by Sabelo Nkosi. The team was made up of school going children who do not have netball teams to play for outside school.
“I am studying at University of Free State with a scholarship because of netball. My family do not struggle with school fees because netball is paying for everything,”
The tournament was a huge success considering the lack of active teams in Mkhondo. The chief organiser of the games Miss Sikholiwe Mdletshe promised to come back again next year during her closing remarks. “I would like to thank everyone for taking their time to support this initiative. My aim is to see young girls involved in playing netball to keep active and fit. Netball is an enjoyable sport that can help also help end poverty and enable young girls to study at universities free of charge,” she said during her prize giving speech.
Sikholiwe Mdletshe presented the winners with trophies, medals and match balls at the Girl Got Game Netball Tournament 2018 held on Saturday 22 December at Thokozani Playing Courts.
She said young girls from the rural areas are missing out on university scholarships by not playing sport. “I am studying at University of Free State with a scholarship because of netball. My family do not struggle with school fees because netball is paying for everything,” said the South African national under 20 player and gold medallist at the recent African Union Zone 5 Youth Games held in Botswana in December last year. “I am studying at University of Free State with a scholarship because of netball. My family do not struggle with school fees because netball is paying for everything,” said the South African national under 20 player and gold medallist at the recent African Union Zone 5 Youth Games held in Botswana in December last year.
Sikholiwe was supported by her proud mother Miss Lindiwe Mdletshe who came to support her daughter and take pictures for family memories. We also spotted former Miss South Africa who has now changed to Mrs Ntandoyenkosi Mthethwa after getting married to singer and former SA Idols winner Khaya Mthethwa. She came to support her friend and to watch the games. She spent a few hours watching the girls before leaving early as she could not stand longer in her bundle of joy condition. Sikholiwe’s team mates and friends from the national team also graced the event assisting with officiating the games as well.