CULTURE AND SOCCER BLEND WELL IN INGWENYAMA CUP FINAL

CULTURE AND SOCCER BLEND WELL IN INGWENYAMA CUP FINAL

Throngs of football and culture lovers descended on the country’s football hub, the Somhlolo National Stadium, which owes its name to the great visionary King Sobhuza I, also known as Ngwane IV or Somhlolo, who lived from 1780 to 1836. The great Somhlolo became king of the then Swaziland from 1815 to 1836. He was called Somhlolo, ‘the Wonder’, upon his birth because his father Ndvungunye died as a result of being struck by lightning. Since it was commissioned, Somhlolo National Stadium has never failed to amaze, indeed an arena of great wonders. The day was electrifying; the goings on kept the thousands of spectators on the edge of their seats from morning to sunset. It would take a chameleon ages to adapt to the numerous colours that worked together as one covering of the stadium, with black and white the dominating colours as Highlanders fans easily outnumbered their rivals. Viewing the stadium from an aerial view, you would swear that Young Buffaloes had missed the flight to the stadium as the maroon and yellow could hardly be spotted. The ground shook when Sibhaca dancers from the four regions showed their dancing prowess, a fierce competition that made it hard for the judges to pick the winner. The sounds of the ululations and whistles were deafening. No one really needed a vuvuzela. The only sporting event of its nature in the region, the Ingwenyama Cup is growing in leaps and bounds, many thanks to SuperSport TV which beams the innovative competition into millions of homes as far as the cable television’s network can go. It was like a wedding of sorts, where culture and sports were the groom and bride, kissing, caressing and flirting with each other to loud cheers of the over 28 000 strong-crowd, according to SuperSport estimates. The spectators loved
the culture, and everyone seemed in unison as to who deserved to win in each competition. It was when the football part of the competition started that the stadium became visibly polarised. The stadium was visibly divided according to black and white, maroon and yellow colour lines. When one faction cheered, the other booed; when the other jumped and pranced, the other recoiled into their seats. Yes football blended well with culture. No dispute, no argument. But none between the two divided the people as football did. Truth be told, Ingwenyama cup showed that
Eswatini surely needed an event of such a calibre to rejuvenate the true spirit of Emaswati.

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