South Africa: The Junior Command and Staff Course of 2023 hosted its Soccer Day at the SA Army College sports field on 1 September 2023.
The event also served to welcome spring following a bitterly cold winter season that kept students very busy with various exercises preparing them for the next level of their military careers.
The well-organised soccer day was graced by the colourful cheerleading team composed of Junior Command and Staff Course ladies, led by Major Phumudzo Malogwe and Maj Fikile Khumela. The cheerleading crew kept activities lively, rooting for the four teams that took part in the tournament.
The cheerleading team was a show stopper and motivated the players with their colourful dresses and innovative dance moves, which left spectators gasping for breath. The weather was also favourable for this outdoor event, which was well orchestrated by the learner body under the enthusiastic leadership of sports coordinator Maj Charlie Smit and main coordinator, soccer site Major Jerry Makushu, affectionately known as Big Jay.
Lieutenant Colonel Motlalentoa Makhele provided guidance to the coordinating team from the unit’s side. The spectators from both sides were cheering their members seated on their camp chairs, basking in the African sun, enjoying every moment of the event unfolding in front of their eyes.
The four teams that participated in the event were: Mathaithai XI, Ubuntu XI, Hlobane XI and SA Army College Reserve XI. The referee convener was Major Madimetja Molepo, whose officiating team ensured that referees were appointed and that decisions during the matches were aligned with general football rules and prescripts.
Football won the day, with SA Army College Reserve XI emerging as the ultimate victors and holders of the coveted Wooden Cup. Lance Corporal Nkosinathi Mnisi from the SA Army College Reserve XI was named player of the tournament, with Major Pollen Ndlala from Hlobane XI snatching the golden boot for the tournament’s top goal scorer with three goals. The best female player of the tournament was awarded to the energetic Major Audrey Lawrence.
The event started with an official opening by acting Commandant SA Army College, Colonel Jan Potgieter, who emphasised the importance of sportsmanship and advised the participants to enjoy the day and be cautious for injuries.
Chaplain M.P.K. Masemola shared the scripture as a prelude during the official opening of the Wooden Cup Soccer Day, and he quoted: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”.1 Timothy 4:8 NIV.
History of the Wooden Cup ||
The British Army donated the Wooden Cup in 1902 as a gesture of goodwill and friendship. The cup is made of oak wood from the HMS Britannia, a ship that served in the Anglo-Boer War. The cup has a silver plaque with the inscription:
“Presented by the British Army to the South African Army College”, this cup was always competed for between the Warrant Officers and Officers.
After relocating the Warrant Officer Development programme to the South African Army Gymnasium in Heidelberg, the Wooden Cup Soccer Day tournament pitted teams from students and Directing Staff, specifically those from the Junior Command and Staff Course.
Old Mutual, AVBOB and the Army Foundation sponsored the event. The three entities contributed trophies, medals, squeeze bottles and potable water for the event as part of the unit’s external stakeholders, who have since built a mutually beneficial relationship with SA Army College.