Destiny beckons for Moonlight team
Moonlight has taken the Premier League by storm. It is not by chance, but through sheer will and determination, as the side has been gradually growing over the years.
The lack of adequate sporting facilities and financial support to perform at the highest level of Border rugby did not put a damper on the aspirations of president Nkululeko Nyangiwe and his management team but has, instead, inspired them to do more and want more for the Mooiplaas community.
Unbeaten in the Premier League after nine matches, Moonlight is sitting pretty at the summit of the Premier League with 39 points, four clear of second-placed United Brothers, whom they will meet in their final league fixture.
People tend to undermine the natural, raw talent in rural areas, but of late there has been a resurgence of teams in both the super and premier leagues, who have stood firm and are now of the best on the Border.
The continued capacity to keep producing super-talented players is not an easy task, but to have a “home team” with pride in their community, comes to most of these players as the number one priority.
So, who is Moonlight? The team was established in 1976 and originates from Sotho Village in Mooiplaas under the Great Kei. It’s been a long road for the side to eventually fulfil their ambition of playing against the big boys of Border rugby.
There is no glory without sacrifices and the bumpy roads often lead to a better place. Moonlight knows how it feels to be in the darkest places and have worked tremendously hard to be where they are today.
From 2002, after participating in the first division, they have stumbled and come short of promotion on various occasions. One such was in 2006 when they were beaten 22-19 by Evergreens in the final of the promotional play-offs at Absa Stadium. 2008 was a low point in the proud club’s history when they were relegated to the Sunday league, after most of their players went to Rustenburg for better work opportunities, leaving an inexperienced side.
After a long nine years in the Sunday league, in 2017 Moonlight won the championship that prompted promotion back to the first division. Again there was heartbreak in 2018 when they lost in the promotional play-offs to the premier league.
The team was ecstatic to finally realise their dream of playing in the Premier League in 2019 after gaining promotion. Covid put a minor halt to their upward trajectory when rugby was called off in 2020 and 2021.
Even in their days of campaigning in the first division, Moonlight was always a force to be reckoned with, having beaten teams like Swallows and played teams like Berlin Tigers, Black Eagles and won many tournaments, including a whopping R25,000 tourney in Kei Road, organised by premier Phumulo Masualle with a host of super and premier league clubs participating.
Moonlight is left with two matches against Wallabies and United Brothers. Destiny to higher honours is in their hands.