By Mandla Mnyakama
As part of their pre-match kitting up, some Cape Town soccer players are slipping on condoms on their feet, so that their socks can stay up longer during matches.
These creative sportsmen have discovered an innovative way of using condoms to secure and keep up their football socks, in the absence of expensive soccer socks, elastic or rubber bands.
Condoms strewn on sportsfields in informal settlements have, of late, become a common sight.
That they can be obtained free is an added bonus.
Sivuyile Nqawe of the Lingelethu Football Association in Khayelitsha said sportsmen were not trying to undermine or destroy "the protective tool".
He said it was to "ease matters for those who cannot afford expensive brands of football kit on their mission to sharpen their skills to become future soccer stars".
"It is just a creative method and it works to alleviate the situation. You just break a condom packet, grab and stretch it. Then you put it on your leg," Nqawe said.
"You will find that in most instances players bring a box of condoms to a match and share them among teammates for the same purpose."
He said many township soccer players were unable to afford good quality football socks that had an elastic band for support.
"The types (of socks) they usually buy lose their effectiveness quicker, causing them to easily fall around the ankles."
Bandile Nginingini, 20, of the Young Cosmos Football Club, said he always popped in at a shop to grab four condoms before weekend soccer matches.
"I wish that we could get proper soccer kit support so that we can stop this and let the condoms be used for its real purpose," he said.