Rising rugby stars given platform to shine at Annual Easter Tournament

Players in 32 teams to battle it out for place in Grand Final at Qonce event

The Moko Sports Foundation will host the third edition of its popular sporting festival where rural rugby, cricket and horseracing development take centre stage near Qonce
EXCITING ACTION: The Moko Sports Foundation will host the third edition of its popular sporting festival where rural rugby, cricket and horseracing development take centre stage near Qonce 

Hundreds of up-and-coming rugby players from the rural Eastern Cape and as far afield as Cape Town will converge on Ezihlahleni Location outside Qonce for the Moko Sports Foundation’s Third Annual Easter Tournament this weekend.

Some 32 men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to battle it out at eZihlahleni’s Moko Sports Complex from Friday to Monday for a place in the Grand Final and a share of R118,000 in prize money.

In addition to rugby, spectators at the Easter Tournament will be treated to big hits and wickets during the final of the Ray Mali Foundation T20 cricket tournament as well as short- and long-distance horse racing.

The Moko Sports Foundation was established five years ago by well-known Eastern Cape philanthropist Siyabulela Moko to offer rural youth opportunities to participate in sports and break free of the social ills present in their communities.

Moko said that aspiring rugby players in rural communities encounter a multitude of challenges that impede their dreams.

These include limited access to quality coaching and facilities, financial constraints, lack of exposure to competitive opportunities and limited educational and professional development opportunities.

“By addressing these challenges and implementing targeted interventions, we can empower aspiring rugby players from rural communities to overcome barriers and pursue their dreams in the sport with confidence and determination,” Moko said.

The aim is to make inroads against players’ lack of exposure to high-level rugby leagues which limits their chances to showcase their skills and attract attention from talent scouts.

Participating teams are drawn from Cape Town, East London, Gqeberha, Qonce, Fort Beaufort, Keiskammahoek and communities surrounding Debe Nek.

Teams like Hamilton (Khulile), Strong Wave (Qonce), Red Lion (Nonaliti), Lunika Home Boys (EL), Tyume Stars (Cape Town), Evergreens (Zihlahleni), Rock of Ages (Ntonga) and Jaguars (Mayipase) have confirmed their attendance.

On Monday morning, the women’s division will see Winter Rose taking on Imidushane and Lovedale facing Mooiplaas for a place in the 2pm final.

The tournament’s winning team will take home R50,000 in prize money, the runner-up R30,000, third place R20,000 and fourth place R10,000.

In addition, the player of the tournament will walk away with R2,000.

Prize money will also be awarded to the player of the final R1,000 while the same amount has been allocated for the tournament’s most promising player, best forward, best back, best coach and best referee.

Moko is urging residents of the area to come out in numbers for the festival as entrance is free.

“Spectators will enjoy a full sporting weekend of activities,” he said.

“The Ray Mali Foundation T20 cricket tournament was held at different venues in Fort Beaufort, Gqeberha and Makhanda and we are honoured to be hosting the final on Sunday.

“Our inaugural Moko Horseracing Games on Monday features shorter races (800m to 1,200m) and a 5km race and are a must for racing enthusiasts.”

For more information on the event, please visit Moko Sports Foundation on Facebook. — Transform Marketing



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