Gogos kick into action

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soccer grannies Ian Landsberg/INLS Nyameka Ndaliso ,46, of the Asakha Ma-Afrika team during a match against Vukani Ma-Afrika at the Khaya Bazaar field in Khayelitsha.

Two years have passed since the 2010 Soccer World Cup inspired Khayelitsha grannies to put on their boots and kick around a soccer ball to keep fit and have fun. On Youth Day the same gogos, who started the first soccer team in Cape Town for elderly women, are still at it and more competitive than ever.

Khayelitsha’s Vukani MaAfrika football club took on Harare’s Asakhe AmaAfrika team and drubbed their younger rivals 5-2.

One of the founders of the original Vukani MaAfrika team, Mabel Zenani, insert, 64, spoke to the Cape Argus about how they have gone from strength to strength.

“We are gogos who want to play soccer. We were tired of seeing on TV, others in Durban and elsewhere playing, while we stayed at home doing nothing. We decided to form the team and we are the first in Khayellitsha, but a team like ours is still rare.”

She said their team had grown to 25 members.

The club will be taking on an even younger team in the next few weeks, Zenani said.

“They saw us training and they asked to play against us,” she said.

Asked how the community has reacted to them, she said they get a lot of support. “The people love the soccer, we get many people here when we play. People take pictures and support us and it makes us happy,” she said.

The club does not have a branded kit or expensive trainers yet, but they do not give up. Some club members said they joined the club for health reasons.

Patricia Mbiyo, 65, said before the club was started, all they would do is sit at home and watch TV. Many of them suffered from diabetes, arthritis, being overweight and high blood pressure. Many have reported an improvement in their health. – Cape Argus

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