The soccer community turned out in numbers at the Kimberley Boys High School soccer field on Saturday to celebrate their very own Kagisho Matile through the inaugural “Spakes Soccer Tournament”. Efforts made possible by the KHS Alumni as part of their heritage celebrations.
The tournament was held to honour the legendary football coach/scout Matile for his contribution in the football fraternity since the beginning of his career in the 1990s. “Kagisho has always believed in local talent and as a local soccer ambassador of the Northern Cape he has been a great supporter of football, including the development of the youth, and now we are even more excited to be involved with football initiatives which are aimed at celebrating and recognising the contributions made by the legendary Matile,” Mkhokeli Gareth Pino, organiser of the tournament expressed. Matile has played a pivotal role to unearth local talent in the province and many soccer stars have got an opportunity to trial and play for top clubs in the country through his efforts.
Matile was at a loss of words to express his gratitude to the committee to honour him in such great fashion, “I am speechless to say the least, I am glad I got to be honoured whilst I am still alive as most people get this type of recognition when they are late, fortunately for me, I get to experience it”. He joked that the same people honouring him today used to give him headaches when he was still coaching the KHS soccer team, “It is amazing that the same guys organising this, are the ones that gave me a few grey hairs and migraines back in the day,” alluding to his tenure as head coach of the school.
The top competing teams on the day included the Old Boys High team, Inter-Milano, South African Students Congress (SASCO) Sol Plaatje University Branch and KHS soccer team. Unfortunately, KHS soccer team pulled out because of league commitments but then, the most interesting part of the tournament was the ‘round-robin’ system, which gave all the teams an equal opportunity to display their skills and talent. The organisers did an excellent job of putting the event together as teams and the spectators had an awesome day out.
The day was fun-filled with locals coming to watch the soccer, enjoy music and food, and socialise with their peers. Milano thrashed SASCO Sol Plaatje University Branch 4 -0 during the finals, to be crowned the first champions for the cup. The team in blue and white was held to a goalless draw by the Varsity in the group stages, and beat the Old KHS team 2-1 to advance to the final. Milano took home a brand-new soccer kit, and the prestigious Kagisho Matile trophy (pictured). Milano’s coach, Romano Farao, expressed jubilation after the 90-minute final whistle. “The guys are very excited to have won their first ever trophy since the inception of the team in 2018, this serves as motivation going into the start of the Premier League”. Farao also explained how the win is sentimental to him, “It is special for me as a former player who was coached by Spakes so to win a trophy that honours him says a lot which cannot be put into words. The winning of the new kit also came just in-time as the newly promoted team start their campaign in the league in mid-October”.
Matile was impressed with the quality of football he witnessed during the tournament. He adds that sports is a great tool to curb some of the social-ills the youth and communities are currently facing, “I would like this initiative to grow, we want to encourage, promote and advance the beautiful game of football with the objective of taking our youth out of the streets where they might be exposed to drugs, alcohol abuse and other unhealthy lifestyle choices, and through sports we can achieve that”.
According to organising committee member Pino, the tournament will be expanded to include more teams and look at other activities such as intensified coaching and skills clinics. Matile says he is especially looking forward to growing the tournament to include youth teams (under 11 and under 17) focusing on rural community schools. He is positive that the foundation’s initiatives among impoverished communities will unearth a few future Bafana Bafana players.