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Nemato soccer clubs find their feet in pre-season tournament

Soccer fans were treated to great competitive football over the weekend as Nemato soccer clubs battled it out on the field of play for their pre-season tournament at the Mamityi Gidana Stadium.

WARM-UP FOR SEASON AHEAD: Majagga Stars Football Club take on Paubs Football Club at the Mamityi Gidana Stadium in their pre-season tournament in Nemato on January 15 2023. Picture: FAITH QINGA

Majagga Stars FC, Paubs FC, City FC, Romans FC, X1 Master FC and Master U17 FC participated in a mini soccer tournament to gear up for the season ahead. The matches were played over the weekend, with the final match played on Sunday, January 15. The tournament was hosted to gear up the players with match fitness for the start of the new season of the league, expected to resume soon.

Tournament organizer, Zakes Vulani of Majagga Stars said the initial plan was to host only four clubs but more clubs showed interest. However, they had to be turned away and six participated. The finalists of the tournament were X1 Masters FC playing against Paubs FC and Paubs won 3-2.

Majagga Stars, which was established in 2015, is affiliated to the Ndlambe Local Football Association (NLFA). The Nemato based club caters to different age groups of developmental teams, including U13, U17, U19 and the senior team. The club’s membership is open to anyone interested in joining and playing soccer regardless of race, gender, color or creed.

Since its establishment in 2015, Vulani says the club’s main achievement is to have established a strong formidable home of development in local football. “We have acquired a foundational financial support from the National Lottery Commission where we bought kits for all divisions and training equipment,” he said.

Aside from tackling opponents on the field of play, the club also lends a helping hand to those in need and takes on socio-economic issues when they have the means. In January 2020, they donated stationery to Enkuthazweni Special Needs Center in Nemato. “We work together with the community, hence at times we give back to the community through our social development programs like buying stationery and school uniforms or shoes for some of those scholars who can’t afford to buy them,” said Vulani.

Besides keeping the players physically fit, Vulani says playing soccer also keeps the players away from the streets and from the problematic issue of substance abuse that the youth struggle with. The club also plays a role in the fight against gender based violence (GBV) by encouraging men to take a stand and unite to fight against GBV, Vulani said. In December 2021, they hosted a 5km fun run from Mamityi Gidana Staduim to Runeli Drive, campaigning against GBV. The club’s banner is also branded with the message of stopping violence against women and children.

Last year, they finished third in the league and for the upcoming season, they are hoping to gain promotion to the South African Breweries Regional League.

The club is also hoping they will be able to garner enough sponsorship to be able to host the return of their Easter Tournament, which was last held in 2019 before the Covid-19 lockdown. They are appealing for businesses for support.

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