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Matabeleland Select Team makes football history

by BMV
01 Jun 2018 at 11:34hrs | Views
Gander Green Lane, home of Sutton United FC, was turned into scenes of joyous celebration for Matabeleland overcoming the odds to attend the CONIFA World Cup in London. This was one of the opening games of the tournament were underdogs Matabeleland were pitted against three times winners and current defending champions Padania of Italy.  

Despite losing 1-6 the spirited youthful side from Matabeleland fought back in the second half to give a glimpse of what they are capable of. The first half had been marred by a combination of nerves and a couple of mistakes which gifted Padania the early first half goals. Not to take away anything from this brilliant Padania side who showed class by scoring some top grade goals in addition to some simple tap-ins.  Admittedly they were worthy winners of this match and boy did they pose a challenge to abafana basekhaya! Yet the second half saw our boys pushing their opponents back more and they were unlucky not to score at least three goals from clear cut chances.  

Then Matabeleland scored their first ever World Cup goal! When the ball fell to Thabiso Ndlela, he took his chance and was rewarded with this precious gem of a goal that will go down in history as that first international goal that marked the emergence of the Mighty Matabeleland Team. The crowd loved this solitary goal and celebrated like there was no tomorrow.  The crowd had fallen in love with the Matabeleland team well before a ball was kicked and their support was palpable throughout the entire match.

The road to London 2018 has been full of challenges. The team had an arduous travelling schedule due to peace-meal processing of visas by the relevant authorities. A couple or so key players are still to join the squad. But against all odds, the team is here at last and will continue to fly the flag for their place of origin. Matabeleland and Zimbabwe should be proud of this historic achievement.

Thanks primarily to the work done by the coaching staff of Justin Walley, Busani Sibindi, Busani Khanye and the Mighty Warriors legend Bruce Grobbelaar, the players themselves and, to a greater or lesser extent,  the Interim UK Organising committee. Last but not least, tribute to all the fans out there who are cheering the team on and prayerfully hoping that the team will beat the new odds of qualifying through to the next stage of this tournament.

Useful links:

Twitter page @matabelefootball


Contacts:  Nqobile  00447765002234, Bokani  007473790250 or  Busani  00263733056828

Match 2 Székely Land v Matabeleland Jun 2 @ 2pm

Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC) Coles Park Stadium, White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London N17 7JP

Match 3 Tuvalu v Matabeleland Jun 3 @ 6pm

Coles Park Stadium (Haringey Borough FC) Coles Park Stadium, White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London N17 7JP
CONIFA World Football Cup, Group C

 - Padania: Winners of CONIFA's Euro 2015 and 2017 tournaments and three-time champions of the now defunct VIVA World Cup, they represent eight northern regions of Italy

 - Szekely Land: A team representing ethnic Hungarians living in a central region of present-day Romania

 - Tuvalu: Still only an associate member of FIFA's Oceania Football Confederation, the Pacific islands nation is part of the Commonwealth

 - Matabeleland: Representing the peoples of regions in western Zimbabwe, many of whom suffered under the Mugabe regime.

Source - BMV