Independent Online

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Sindile Manengela out to defend Extreme Fighting Championship title

Sindile Manengela slips a jab from former EFC bantamweight champion Faeez Jacobs during their fight for the vacant strap at EFC 90. Picture: EFCWorldwide

Sindile Manengela slips a jab from former EFC bantamweight champion Faeez Jacobs during their fight for the vacant strap at EFC 90. Picture: EFCWorldwide

Published May 30, 2022


Gqeberha - Things have not been looking pleasant for most parts of the The Nelson Mandela Bay region lately.

Large areas of the metro - made up of Gqeberha, Kariega and Despatch  - could soon run out of water should there not be sufficient rainfall over the coming weeks. Just like the Western Cape had suffered a few years ago, Day Zero now looms and could become a reality for many parts of the beautiful Eastern Cape.

Story continues below Advertisement

Recent overnight showers in catchment areas have delayed Day Zero, however, the coming weeks could see dams - operating roughly at the 10 percent mark - face the severe strain of having to supply more than 1.5 million people with water.

This demand could see catchment areas quickly dry up leaving millions of people without drinking water, water for cooking and water for cleaning unless they drastically reduce consumption to impractically-low levels.

ALSO READ: Good news for fight fans as Masefi Ngoma is breathing on his own

While the people and their community leaders are trying to put measures in place to avert, delay or soften the reality of the situation, Zwide’s Sindile Manengela is hard at work, training, sweating, trying to rehydrate and keep focused on his task at hand, which is defending his Extreme Fighting Championship title at EFC94.

“The water crisis is something that we've been battling with for the past four to five years, it's something that I don't really understand. Why hasn't it been fixed yet?” asks Manengela (8-7-0).

Alleged poor water management by the local government, unpredictable rainfall patterns and vandalism of local infrastructure have all led to the current crisis Manengela, his family and his fellow Eastern Cape residents face. Thousands of residents have voiced their concerns to why there are even leaks in some areas, leading to wasted water painting the streets of certain areas while people and industries are desperate need for this life-giving resource.

Story continues below Advertisement

“We managed to do our entire camp in Nelson Mandela Bay with no problems, though, but now I'm in Springs, Gauteng to finish it up here and to acclimatise. We try by all means not to focus on things outside the fight when we have a fight coming,” says Manengela who will face Cameron Saaiman (4-0) to decide who the king of the EFC bantamweight division is.

After winning the EFC championship against former champion, Faeez Jacobs during their vacant title fight, Manengela dipped his feet in the international pool, taking a short notice fight at UAE Warriors 25 against Jaurez Dea Gomez (7-4), the Zwide-born athlete was unfortunately on the wrong side of a unanimous decision bout but is not too bothered considering the variables that were involved.

“We knew that taking that fight on two weeks' notice was risky, but we had to take our chances and show the world what we are capable of,” says Manengela who will be keen on reminding the masses who the king of the EFC 61.2 kilogram division is.

Story continues below Advertisement

Manengela faces an exciting up-and-coming athlete who has done everything right thus far.

“Cameron is doing well, I believe that anybody who is doing well at the moment deserves a title shot.”

Saaiman has been somewhat of a prodigy in the South African mixed martial arts fraternity.

Story continues below Advertisement

Coming out of a solid gym in the form of CIT, and being mentored by UFC star, Dricus du Plessis.

The 22-year-old has not put a foot wrong both inside and outside the hexagon, and with a perfect record of 4-0 with four finishes (with none of them going past the first or second round) he has quickly built a name.

“He does not have the experience I have, but he is an exciting fighter, he has a lot of hype around him, so he is the perfect guy to fight, but it is not his time, yet. One day he will get the title, but not now,” says Manengela who hails from a household-name gym in the form of PEFSA (Port Elizabeth Submission Fighting Academy).

“Cameron also comes from a good gym in the form of CIT, so he will be well-prepared. This is what we need as well to get even better,” adds Manengela who confirms that the UAE Warriors door is still “wide open”.

“We got the UAE Warriors opportunity through our UK-based management company. That door is still wide open, and it is quickly becoming one of the biggest Mixed Martial Arts promotions in the world.

“So, yes, we want to spread our wings and fight around the world before my career ends. You just need to know how to do things the right way when it comes to the EFC, they’re very flexible when it comes to stuff like this. If you communicate with them, that is the key,” emphasises Manengela when asked how he navigates between his EFC contract and the Abu Dhabi-based UAE.

When asked whether he would be interested in going up a division again in search of that double-champ status, Manengela was not exactly closed to the idea.

Manengela had a mixed bag at featherweight, winning two and losing two in the 65.8 kilogram division before moving down and going on a title-winning run in the bantamweight class.

“We haven't thought about moving back up to featherweight yet, but in this game anything is possible.”

A win at EFC94 for Manengela may not bring respite to the drought-faced people of Gqeberha, but maybe, just maybe it could put a little smile for a short while on the faces of those enduring the hardships of the water crisis back home.

*EFC94 takes place this coming Saturday, June 4th at the EFC Performance Institute in Paulshof, Johannesburg.


IOL Sport

Related Topics: