WATCH: Super Grans head to SA for glory

Lorraine Mathe
SOCCER is by far the world’s most popular sport and for good reason, loved by at least 265 million people worldwide, and in Bulawayo’s Entumbane suburb, there is one particular soccer club that has apparently earned itself a place on the world map of sports science.

Entumbane Grannies is a social team which consists of women above the age of  50 with the oldest player being 78 years old. The team has found itself breaking all-too-common taboos, including the idea that older women are weak and inactive.

Maggie Phiri, the grannies left winger

The grannies team is set to represent the country in the Grannies International Football Tournament to be staged by Limpopo team Vakhegula Vakhegula Football Club in South Africa.

Entumbane Grannies club owner Shadreck Moyo said he formed the team after his visit to South Africa in 2019.

“Being a family friend to the founder of the Grannies International Football Rebecca Ntswantisi also known as Mama Beka from Limpopo, he was advised by Mama Beka to form a football group of grannies to play in my community,” he told B-Metro.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we could not continue with the training sessions until last year in August. Then from January this year we revived our training sessions in preparation for the grannies tournament to be held in South Africa.”

He said he started with a few members from his church, Across the Jordan Pentecostal Ministries in Entumbane, where he is a pastor.

Upon realising that the number of grannies was below the expected number of a football team, he then introduced it to the whole community of Entumbane and now the team has 66 players and they are still counting.

Grannies International Football Tournament

This first annual football friendly tournament will take place in Limpopo province, from March 26 to 29.
Mama Beka and Vakhegula Vakhegula Football club are the hosts of the football tournament.

When a B-Metro news crew went to their training ground Eskwakweni in Entumbane it found the grannies doing exercises.

The news crew later caught up with the team’s coach Nobuhle Mirriam Majika (33) who said: “I am a voluntary coach. This is my third week coaching the grannies and their performances are improving.

They are now more active and fit compared to their first days.

Nobuhle Mirriam Majika, the grannies mentor and former Mighty Warriors player

“We are doing this mainly for their health and they are benefiting a lot from the training sessions.”

Majika, who is also a Bulawayo Chiefs Ladies assistant coach and former captain of the Mighty Warriors expressed her excitement on the forthcoming journey to South Africa with the Entumbane Grannies saying it was her first time travelling with older people as their mentor.

“I grew up in Entumbane and I am returning the favour to my community for moulding me to be who I am today. I am happy that the team is the first of its kind in the country and I hope we could have more local teams in the country like the Entumbane Grannies so that they can compete among themselves,” said Majika.

She added that there was also a challenge since some of the players did not have passports.

Grannies training

She, however, said they were going to select those with passports and better performance.
Team manager Elliot Masotsha Mushayavanu (75) said the grannies had improved and they could now

run unlike during their first days and wished them a successful journey to South Africa.

Maggie Phiri (78) who is the oldest in the team, said: “I am so excited about going to South Africa.

“I have never played football before and I have benefited a lot from the training sessions. I have been having body pains but after this soccer programme I was introduced to, I barely feel any pain,” she said.

The strong looking Gogo MaPhiri said she wishes their team wins in South Africa and brings victory to the community where they were getting support.

Shadreck Moyo(70), the man behind the grannies football in Entumbane

Another player, Constance Moyo (62) concurred with Gogo MaPhiri saying they were benefiting health wise.

“We complain whenever it’s time for us to be dismissed from training because we will be having fun with other women,” she said.

They are, however, heading for tough encounters since one of their opponents, the South African Soccer Grannies started playing soccer about 15 years ago.

Community activist Beka Nstwantisi who founded the team now has 84 teams across every province of South Africa all promoting better health among older women.

About 22 teams were invited to the Grannies International Football Tournament.

They include those from the United States of America, France, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *