Surely the neighbours would have sensed that something big was happening at their neighbouring school on 29 August 2023. Qhilika High School at H Section, Umlazi Township was unusually noisy on this date. The cries of Halala Qhilika, Halala, rang across the school and beyond. These cries were led by a stranger in the eyes of many, the Deputy Director: Sport department, at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), Siyabulela Mkwalo. For a very good reason, the school was accepting a huge trophy, and brand new soccer jersey set from MUT’s Sport department because they won the inaugural MUT School and Community Cup tournament, by beating Igagasi High School by 3-0.
Addressing both the learners and the teachers at the assembly point Mkwalo apologised to the school for bringing the trophy on this date when in fact the final of the tournament was played on 11 August 2023, at the University football grounds. Mkwalo emphasized the importance of sport in general and in the life of a learner in particular.
Vuma Mfeka, a soccer legend that kept goals for the AmaZulu and African Wanderers football clubs, and was a school principal, gave as a justification for the tournament. Mfeka said his organisation, Inkonjane Youth Development, approached the University’s Sport department to host a sports tournament. Vuma said they wanted to revive the sporting spirit in the schools so the youth would be shielded from all forms of misbehaviours. Mkwalo said the project, which had 16 football and netball teams from 13 high schools that performed above 75% in their academic performance in year 2022, sought to establish strategic partnerships with the broader community “to enrich learning and research, prepare engaged citizens, and contribute to the public good.
The team’s captain, Sakhile Mkhize, said they won because they followed the coach’s instructions. “We also worked very hard,” Mkhize said. The nineteen-year-old grade 12 learner was chosen player of the tournament. Mkhize said he wanted to play for a professional club. He plays centre-half, a position that was played by the great Frans Beckenbauer, the ‘Kaiser’. He will be leading his team to a tournament that will be taking place at the Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal midlands, in a few days’ time.