Local sports gala backed by businesses
SCHOOL sports is alive and well on the Kwazulu-natal North Coast. Over 700 pupils are set to compete at the sixth edition of the Mafukuzela Gandhi Circuit Managers Champions Cup which will be held in Phoenix this coming Saturday.
The year began with a stringent qualifying process, which saw 180 schools enter the preliminary rounds of the competition. That number has been whittled down to just 72 champion schools, who will now battle it out in the codes of football, netball, volleyball, chess and table-tennis.
Competition founder, Siva Subrayen, who heads the Phoenix Central Circuit, says the tournament has developed into one of the premier events on the school sports calendar.
“We have come a long way since our first gala day in 2012,” he said. “The event has definitely inspired a high level of competition between schools.
“It is not uncommon to hear school principals challenging each other. Principals are upbeat about inspiring educators, team managers, coaches and learners to up their game to succeed.”
Subrayen says there was simply not enough being done in the region to promote school sports and it was imperative to provide pupils with a competitive platform.
“There appeared to be a general apathy towards organised interschool sport among the schools in the Mafukuzela Gandhi region,” he explained.
“Educators passionate about school sport also informally tended to complain that in many schools, school leadership did not support them in their quest to encourage sport.
“Hence the Circuit Managers Champions Cup was initiated.”
Apart from local bragging rights, winning teams are in for major prizes with tournament organisers once again securing good sponsorships.
Anchor sponsors, Umongo Petroleum and the George Ramalu Trust have pumped R37 000 into this year’s competition, while Rajen Pillay of local business, Gantrans, committed R130 000 for prize money alone. That means the champion school from each code and division will go home with R10 000 each.
“This sort of prize money is really unheard of at this level,” Subrayen says. “We decided on a generous amount because we want it to go back into the development of sport in schools.
“We are extremely proud of the local sponsors who have come on board. Umongo and the George Ramalu Trust have been with us since inception and the contribution from Gantrans is going to go a long way.”
In addition, the top schools will receive playing kits and floating trophies.
Football, netball and volleyball will take place at the Saccharine Grounds, while Grove End Secondary School will host the codes of chess and tabletennis.
Subrayen has appealed to parents and community members to head out and support the competition in numbers.
“Competing at this level is a big deal for our kids,” he added. “There is a lot on the line and they will certainly welcome all the support they can get.”