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WATCH: Friend travels 36 hours from Zim to support Lewis Mataya at IMMAF Africa MMA Championship

Lewis Mataya, right and his good friend and Zimbabwe’s MMA's secretary general, Wayne Kademaunga. Picture: Tamryn Christians, MzansiMMA

Lewis Mataya, right and his good friend and Zimbabwe’s MMA's secretary general, Wayne Kademaunga. Picture: Tamryn Christians, MzansiMMA

Published Apr 27, 2022

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Johannesburg - Zimbabwe’s Lewis Mataya will be fighting for more than just gold at the IMMAF Africa MMA Championships this weekend.

Not only is Mataya the sole member of Team Zimbabwe at this year’s International Mixed Martial Arts Federation event, but to make things even more special, his good friend and countryman, Zimbabwe MMA’s Secretary General, Wayne Kademaunga travelled 36 hours on a bus from his home country to be with Mataya in Johannesburg.

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“It’s been a mission to get here,” says Mataya.

“The main one was the administration side of things, sorting out things like finances, medicals, affiliation for our federation, registering it with IMMAF.

“My friend Wayne has been at work for years, trying to register our country, and once he did that, we had to face the challenges of getting here,” adds Mataya.

The bus trip to Johannesburg was also nothing short of a disaster for Mr Kademaunga, riddled with delays and police stops along the way.

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“Imagine how hard it must be to sit on a bus for 36 hours, Julian. 36 hours!

“So yes, the challenges were and are there, but thankfully, I have a very supportive team behind me, and I am grateful to them all. From accommodation, plane tickets, and more,” says the Cape Town-based athlete who travelled up to Johannesburg a few days earlier to acclimatize and get comfortable with the altitude in Gauteng.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, I feel like this event should be on every television channel in Zimbabwe you know. Imagine how proud people are in Zim, or if they were seeing this live, how proud they would be. So we need it out there.”

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Mataya, the current PFC amateur lightweight champion kicks off his campaign today in the same division he has celebrated much success so far.

Lewis Mataya celebrates after beating Emmanuel Sita at PFC Amateur Fight Night in 2020. Lewis earned the Lightweight title that night. Picture: FrankyFunkyPhotos.

Team Zimbabwe will be joined by Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and the hosts, South Africa - who will have 18 athletes competing at the event.

The tournament will run over three days (28th to 30 April) with the final taking place on Saturday at the EFC Performance Institute in Paulshof.

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IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “It is exciting to be able to return to Africa and create opportunities again for MMA amateurs to compete on the IMMAF platform. Africa has a record of providing top-ranked talent for IMMAF and is a hotbed of potential.

Competition can be expected to jump up a notch with the addition of new teams, and everyone will be watching for the emergence of rising stars from Africa’s grassroots.”

The Championships will be free-to-view for audiences in African countries and available to immaf.tv subscribers. A Championship Pass will be available for non-subscribers from outside of Africa, providing three days of MMA action for just $4.99 (R79.53).

@juliankiewietz

* This copy is sponsored by The Capital Hotel and Apartments.

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