The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
MTSHABEZI High School came alive last Monday when the boarding institution hosted the Dumisani Foundation games concluding fixtures.
Four schools, Mtshabezi, Gifford, Milton and Entumbane competed in football as well as basketball. Gifford, Entumbane, Milton and Mtshabezi had their boys participating in football. Entumbane and Mtshabezi, the only girls’ teams met in football. The lasses from the two schools also clashed in basketball.
With the United Kingdom-based Dumisani “Zifa” Ndlovu, the man behind the initiative in attendance together with his family, the school was abuzz with excitement, with action on the football field and basketball.
As the competition gets bigger, basketball was also added to the games with Mtshabezi fielding their boys as well as girls’ teams while Milton had boys and Entumbane fielded girls. Ndlovu indicated that the introduction of basketball was at the request of UK-based former Mtshabezi teacher, Sipho Pugeni who is passionate about the sport. Since the Dumisani Foundation games started in 2015, only football was part of the competition.
Gifford, the most successful team in the contest claimed their third boys’ football title as they topped the round robin. They came into the final round of fixtures with 17 points. The Gifford Stingers did not have a great run on the day as they were beaten 1-0 by Mtshabezi before they were held to goalless draws by Milton and Entumbane.
Gifford ended with 19 points and that was enough for their captain Ashton Ncube to lift the trophy. Milton finished second with 17 points after the Prince Sibanda-mentored Elephants won two and drew one of the three fixtures they played. Last year’s champions Entumbane occupied third spot and Mtshabezi ended at the bottom of the log.
Entumbane were the girls champions for the second year running when they overpowered Mtshabezi 1-0.
In basketball, Mtshabezi boys defeated Milton 65-58 while the girls saw off Entumbane 67-4. The basketball matches were played at such high intensity that the fans were captivated throughout.
Ndlovu said the fact that he keeps pushing on with the initiative shows that he has belief in the potential of the youngsters involved. He advised the aspiring footballers to pursue their careers so that they have alternative plans in life.
“We have faith in you, we know that you are all talented, yes, education is very critical but if you have another talent, make it your plan B. Pursue your dreams, pursue your skills but remember respect, honesty, fairness, those are the key things that can make you do it in life,’’ Ndlovu said.
Guest of honour, Mkhuphali Masuku, the Talen Vision coach was really impressed by the talent on display. Masuku, who grew up in Bulawayo and Gwanda singled out some of the youngsters who he believes have a bright future in football. Some of those the former AmaZulu and Highlanders player picked out were the Bukhosi Dube of Mtshabezi for the boys. Among the girls, Masuku singled out the duo of Siboniso Sibanda (Mtshabezi) and Pamela Ngwenya of Entumbane.
Masuku urged the youngsters to be disciplined in order to excel in the sport because without restraint, they will b able to make it far in the game.
“I am sure you know that this sport you have chosen is such a beautiful one loved by most people but without discipline you won’t succeed in it. Just look at Marvelous Nakamba, he is now playing for Aston Villa. To the sponsor we say thank you to the wonderful work you are doing,’’ Masuku said.
Zenzo Moyo, a schools inspector in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in charge of physical education, sport, mass displays, arts and culture said his belief is that the youngsters at the competition have the talent which they should exploit so as to earn a living.
“To the kids, let it not end here, for you to be here it’s because you have the talent, let’s take these talents and use them so we can earn a living from them,” Moyo said.
Ndlovu was at Mtshabezi from 1987 to 1990 then went to Gifford High School for A-level. He taught at Entumbane after obtaining a degree from the University of Zimbabwe prior to leaving for the UK.