Johannesburg - The Soweto Local Football Association (SLFA) is on a mission to honour the township’s fallen heroes.
From the Zodwa Khoza Memorial Cup and the Clinix Stix Morewa Soccer Challenge to the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge, the SLFA is remembering these icons through football tournaments.
A few days ago saw the conclusion of the Zodwa Khoza games, which started in August.
This week, the Stix Morewa tournament was launched to honour the late SA Football Association president.
Strength to strength
The Walter Sisulu challenge will bring the curtain down on the year.
Khoza is the late daughter of Orlando Pirates chair Irvin Khoza.
SLFA chairperson Phil Mogodi said they made the decision to honour their legends after realising that the present crop of youngsters knew little or nothing about them.
He said more than 1 000 teams would participate in the Stix Morewa event, including juniors, seniors and women’s sides.
“This is our way of honouring our legends – we are here because of them. It is our little contribution to them and we are happy that people such as Ntate Kop [Matseke] have come on board,” said Mogodi.
The tournament is in its 13th year and Mogodi believes it has grown from strength to strength.
Last year, the association launched junior tournaments named after many of the township’s former heroes.
Football legends of yesteryear now have their names attached to tournaments in and around Soweto.
Mogodi said young players were graduating from Ariel “Pro” Khongoane’s Under-13 competition, Mike Ntombela’s Under-15 contest and Doctor Khumalo’s Under-17 event.
“If we don’t recognise them now, no one will, and they will soon be forgotten. We want them to be remembered forever by naming tournaments after them.
"Football played an important role in the struggle too, hence we are here today to recognise them,” said Mogodi.
The organisation was encouraged by the response from the legends, he said.
“Some have agreed to use their own money to run these events and we are grateful for that.”