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Christmas tourney gets shot in the arm

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FILE PIC: Action from last year's tourney

Christmas came early for popular rural football tournament, GUMBAKATOSE, as this weekend it received a P53 000 sponsorship from businessman- Thusani Dick at Diponeng Guest House in Mahalapye.

In its 24th year running, the tournament which draws its name from the affiliating villages go Gungwe, Mbalambi, Kalakamati, Toteng and Sekakangwe first kicked off in 1993 with four teams from Mbalambi, Toteng, Sekakangwe and Kalakamati and it has since grown to feature 12 teams.

Speaking to Voice Sport ahead of the launch last week, the event’s Vice Chairperson, Themba Sihlahla said besides launching the tournament the Mahalapye event was also intended to give GUMBAKATOSE organisers the opportunity to unveil this year’s sponsor and conduct the tournament draw.

The tournament winner, according to the organizers, will walk away P10 000 richer while preliminary stage losers will each pocket a P2 500 consolation prize.

Quizzed on what had inspired the tournament, Sihlahla responded: “When we started, our intention was to build friendships among our villages and also provide entertainment, but over the years it has grown to become a scouting opportunity for clubs from our different leagues. We are proud of our contribution to football development.”

He pointed out that some of the notable players scouted at past tournaments include, Zecco Makafiri who made his name at Francistown City Greens (Formerly Ecco), Zebras player Onkabetse Makganthai, Tendai Kesekile of Sharps and Miscellaneous’ Pelaelo Hlabano.

Meanwhile, according to Sihlahla, this year’s tournament will be played in Mbalambi Village beginning Christmas eve with the final on December 29th.

According to Sihlahla, there will be prizes for clubs with the best player, goalie, referee and top goal scorer also getting rewards for their efforts.

Beauty pageant lovers will not be left out of the fun as the tournament will be preceded by a Miss GUMBAKATOSE contest on December 23rd.