The Sunday News
Mandla Moyo, Sports Reporter
THE footprints of a social soccer icon Chris “Zvidobi” Mhlanga who stepped down from active football administration early this year remain firmly embedded in social soccer and beyond in most parts of the country.
What started as an idea to pass time as well as keep boys away from drugs among as other negatives has grown into a bigger institution never seen before in the social soccer scenes, in the process become a legacy to the community on its own right.
Today the heritage that the man left behind roars loud, clear every morning, especially on Sundays. Communities wake up to the deafening roar of the war cry made by teams practising their trade under his brain child, the Bulawayo Social Soccer League (BSSL), just before locking horns.
As a result of the sound some people become anxious to know what is happening outside, quickly come out their homes to witness the battle about to unfold before them.
It is difficult to come up with any name of a township whose territory has not been consumed by a Bssl inferno, a clear indication of the impact as well as penetration the league has made over the years as it continues to provide communities with a dosage of thrills plus spills to make sure they are kept entertained.
Coming from the community Mhlanga obviously tapped into indigenous knowledge systems hence was able to come up with a project people could identify with.
To date his army has grown big such that it is now made up of two leagues, pool A as well as pool B each with twenty six since teams under its register playing every weekend on Sundays.
Like soldiers they yell, they roar their lungs out during the war cry as part of the leagues culture with the sole intention of sending fear in the hearts as well as minds of their rivals standing before them.
On the day the he bid farewell his advice was simple and straight forward to his predecessors of the league.
“Even when I pass on I will lie in my resting place knowing that I left the community with something to treasure and feel proud of,” said Mhlanga.
For that reason missing a BSSL match is like missing a lifetime experience, not to mention the get together meetings afterwards. Mhlanga’s ideas continue to touch the hearts of many.
Pool A: Fireworks v Old timers (Luveve High), Makwee v Fund’ukulinda (Mazai Makokoba), 70 Combination v Ndola Stars (Mambo Tshabalala), Magwegwe Bullets v Khami Hydon (Magwegwe High), Stars FC v Congo Chiefs (Ndola ),Santos Thand’abantu v Brotherhood (Silwane, Old Pumula),94 Strivers v Glenkara (TM Cowdray Park), Mthala v Tigers (Bango, Mpopoma),Edgars v Patapata (Somhlolo, Nkulumane), Man United v Cowdray Masters (Emakhandeni), CreamTata v FC Pirates (Lobengula Youth Centre), Zulu Chiefs v Iminyela Timers (Marisha, Old Magwegwe).
Pool B: NJC v Robert Sinyoka (Mazai Makokoba),Pelandaba v Pumula Crackers (Induba Pry Pelandaba), Mabutweni v Siyabangena (Insukamini Pry Njube),West Comm v Zinwa (Ndola), Mayihlome v Njube Crackers (Inyathi, Mpopoma ),Real Magwegwe v Gwabalanda Legends (Magwegwe High), Shwelele v Ntumbane Bombers (Inyathi, Mpopoma), Nkulumane v Zobha (Phekiwe, Nkulumane 12 ), Skippers v Lobels (Bango Mpopoma), Matshobana v FC Zonke (Matshobana), Finance v Pioneer (TM Cowdray Park),Wembley v Celtics (Lobengula High), Happy Valley v Real Shwelele (Mazai)).