TOWNSHIP schools rugby is set for a boost when the Mzwandile Mali Memorial Rugby Festival is increased from six to 16 teams later this month.
The second edition of the tournament, which runs from March 27 to April 1 at the Wolfson Stadium in Kwazakhele, will see teams from Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage doing battle for honours.
The initiative, a joint project between the late Mali’s son, Lincoln, and his nephew, Xolisa, came about when they wanted an event to honour his memory.
Mali was a great ambassador for all sports in the Eastern Cape.
The inaugural tournament was held last year and Ithembelihle High walked away as the champions.
Tournament chairman Xolisa said the project was a vision Lincoln had to honour his father’s legacy.
“The aim of this tournament is to identify talented players, and hopefully they can one day represent the Springboks,” he said.
Standard Bank provincial head Joe Motshelabola said the bank was proud to sponsor the tournament.
“We had no hesitation in assuming the sponsorship of the event, as it provides us with an opportunity to participate in a showcase rugby tournament for the Eastern Cape, and to engage with our customers on the ground,” he said.
Schools will receive big cash incentives for winning the tournament, funds which will be used for the development of the school’s rugby programme.
Lincoln will also inject some of his own money into the tournament for other individual accolades.
“Most importantly, the schools and school sport programmes will benefit from events that are financially supported by the bank,” Lincoln said.
“We look forward to a tournament that will be full of exciting rugby, friendship and sportsmanship.”
Gladys Mali, wife of Mzwandile, said: “I would like to ask all the individuals and stakeholders involved to keep on doing this. It can create a lasting legacy.”