THE Education and Sport Development department in North West said it was happy that it hosted a successful Maize Cup at Moruleng Stadium, Moruleng on Saturday.
This was the second edition of the tournament.
MEC Sello Lehari said that bringing Premier Soccer League giants like Orlando Pirates to Moruleng help boost soccer development in rural areas.
“We hosted a wonderful match between Soweto Giants Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars. The Maize Cup was formerly known as Bokone Bophirima Maize Traingle Cup. Last year we featured all three maize producing provinces like Free State and Mpumalanga. However, because of unforeseen challenges, those provinces could not partake in the tournament this year.
“We decided to continue with this project because the idea was born from this province. This is a thematic profile attempts to broadly introduce some of the current themes related to physical education and sport for children and youth. It is also part of fifth administration’s vision. We have five concretes which are economy-drive for the province,” Lehari said.
He added that matches like these boost small to micro medium enterprises (SMMEs).
Lehari further said they invited former professional players to run sport clinics in Moruleng on Friday before the game.
“Despite economic successes achieved across South Africa, people in rural areas continue to live in abject poverty. Hence North West premier Supra Mahumapelo came up with Village, Towns and Small Dorpies (VTSD) initiative. We need to empower our people from far-flung areas too.
“We also want to condemn those political parties who said the event is just a wasteful expenditure. People in the province are mostly affected by a myriad of economic problems. This includes pockets of poverty, inequality, insufficient economic growth,” Lehari said.
Lehari dismissed as misguided views by opposition political parties that alleged that the tournament was a waste of money after it reportedly cost government R7m to stage it.
“SMMEs benefited from this project including taxi industry. Sport is the only metaphor that can be used to fight socio-economic issues like teenage pregnancy, crime, unemployment, inequality, and alcohol and substance abuse. The fundamental cause of these problems is scarcity. There are unlimited wants and needs that must be addressed with scarce resources,” he said.
Bakgatlha Ba Kgafela chief, Kgosi Kagiso Pilane shared the same sentiments. He said that a match like this will benefit the community.
“We are so grateful to host the match of this magnitude consecutively. We would like to see the tournament remaining in our area. It boosts our local economy development and many locals generate income.
“All guest houses were full-booked and all businesses were functional. We should use what we have to address our social and economic problems effectively and efficiently. The primary objective of the VTSD framework policy is to develop an economic strategy towards accelerated and sustainable shared growth for North West province using entrepreneurship as a pathway,” Pilane said.
Orlando Pirates won the Maize Cup after beating Platinum Stars 3-1 in penalties.