Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The following article, written by Sikhona Vesi , the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Provincial Development Manager, has been reproduced courtesy of AFL Footywild. It focuses on the national championships held for the first time in Durban late last year.
The footyWILD National Championships is by far the most important event in South African footy. It reunites friends, divides teams and is known to conquer our imaginations, as it possesses the opportunity for our provincial teams to battle it out for our ‘holy grail’ which is to win the Championship and the bragging rights to be called the ‘Champs’.
In both divisions (high school and extreme) the games are highly competitive, as the players are not only playing for the pride of their respective teams, but also for places in the Geminder squad, the South African Lions and also to be part of the team in next year’s International Cup to be held in Australia.
History was made when the championships where held in Durban, KZN. The opportunity was long overdue, AFL South Africa must be commended for giving KZN the rights to host this event as it will sharpen the event hosting skills across the country. The provincial teams selectors all said they had to make tough choices as all the players were looking forward to be part of history to be part of their provincial teams in the first National Championship to be played outside Western Cape and North West Province, and also the perks of being in Durban which is a place some only see in the television.
The preparations where challenging because of the facilities of our ground were not so favourable due to the locals vandalizing it, but with the help from the eThekwini municipality the pitch was in good condition and it was ready for the battle.
Never in my life have I been so nervous, this event is enormous when you have to be the host, and knowing that the AFL South Africa Board members and the Australian High Commissioner Mr. Graeme Wilson where going to be present at the event, took my nerves to greater heights. My reason for being nervous later looked rather silly, because as I would later find out that the Commissioner was easy to converse with and he had an important stakeholder, Mr Eric Apelgren , Head International and Governance Relations of the eThekwini municipality there to introduce me to. This introduction will go a long way to footy in KZN and South Africa, as it will open opportunities to use better facilities and recognition of our sport locally.
I could sense that everyone involved was enjoying their stay in Durban, some wish the number of days in Durban where longer, but they were still grateful nonetheless.
The games where highly entertaining, and the level of skill is gradually increasing. One of the senior players Mazizi Sifanelo’s Facebook wall was filled with admiration for the efforts of all the teams involved, and that was the general consensus around the organization at large.
The inland teams, namely Gauteng and North West Province, won the Extreme and High School titles respectively, they were both underdogs in their respective finals against the mighty Western Province. This was testament that hard work and fearlessness will inspire ‘David’ to knockout ‘Goliath’.
Guests on the day
1. Mr Graeme Wilson – Australian High Commissioner
2. Mr Neels Roodt, Mr Tonie Prins, Mr Regie Mokotedi & Mr Labius Zacharia – AFLSA Board
3. Mr Eric Apelgren – Head International and Governance Relations (eThekwini Municipality)
The match summaries follow as:
HIGH 3rd and 4th
Gauteng 6.7.43 vs KZN 4.0.24
EXTREME 3rd and 4th
North West 8.8.56 vs KZN 4.2.26
Gauteng 5.5.36 vs Western Cape 1.6.12
North West 3.5.23 vs Western Cape 1.3.9
World Footy News