By CHRIS TOTOBELA
On Sunday, 5 February, the only Makhanda-based women’s football team, African Connection, had a lot to celebrate at the Amakonono’s annual players’ awards held at a packed Kutliso Daniels school hall.
Player Asanda Mcwabeni, walked away with the best goalkeeper award, while team captain Lamla Maloni, scooped the most improved player and the best midfielder awards. Debutant Alarice de Lange, won the best newcomer and the leading goal scorer awards. Zintle Siwa, Owam Dyonashe and Emihle Dyonashe walked away with the best defender, best striker and best young player awards, respectively. Lusakhanya Mawuse grabbed a hat trick of awards for the best substitute player, a high-performance centre award for discipline, and an executive award. Sandisiwe Mhlawuli won the best goal of the season award, while Khanyisa Mawuse won the most disciplined and dedicated player award.
The biggest winner of the day was Luphawu Mpangalasana, who, amongst her awards, walked away with the best player of the season award and could not hide her excitement. “I started in this team as a junior player and moved on to the senior team; I never thought that one day I would be standing here as a player of the season,” said Luphawu.
Guest speaker and local champion Mzoxolo “Bokoloshe” Ndwayana, told the audience about the importance of discipline and education. “It does not matter if you come from humble beginnings; if you remain focused and disciplined, you can achieve anything,” he said.
Guest and top local long-distance runner Lionel Blaawu, also shared his experiences with the audience and told them how sport changed his life.
Pastor Nomakhwezi Madikwa, urged the girls to try their best in whatever they do, especially in a town like Makhanda, where sports facilities are not well taken care of, and where there aren’t many recreational facilities.