International Grannies Football Tournament boosts local businesses

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The hawkers in Nkowankowa outside Tzaneen, Limpopo, say the International Grannies Football Tournament has boosted their local businesses. The four-day tournament kicked off on Sunday. It featured 16 teams from various countries. It is now planned to be held in different countries every two years.

The first elderly women’s football team in South Africa was established in 2007 by the renowned Beka Ntsanwisi.

Hawkers are selling food, fruits and other products at Nkowankowa stadium, where the International Grannies Football Tournament is taking place.

They say that the business has been booming since the start of the tournament. Grannies from the US, France, Mozambique, and Zambia participated in the tournament.

The local Vakhegula-Vakhegula soccer team was formed with the purpose to socialise and exercise to keep fit. Hawkers say that in this hard economic condition, the tournament has brought hope to their lives.

“Here we are selling fat cakes, pap and meat. We are also selling different things. And this tournament is helping us a lot as businesses. We appreciate events of this nature in Nkowankowa,” says a hawker, Jefrey Maenetja.

”For the local economy, this tournament has played a huge role because a lot of people have benefited. And again, there are more businesses outside of the stadium that are benefiting from this,” adds another hawker, Cheyeza Rikhotso.

“I’m selling pap, chicken, beef stew and vegetables. The business is not perfect, but we are trying,” says hawker Madira Mokgothwane.

The players are mostly elderly women over the age of 50. They have also expressed excitement to be part of the tournament.

“It is amazing to be here back in the Motherland. I have been playing soccer for five years and it has been amazing. So, it’s the greatest experience,” says American player Domingo Seri.

“I am too excited to come here, travelling from Maputo to be part of this grannies’ tournament. We are committed as Mozambican players to play soccer,” says Mozambican player Kandid Honwane.

“This is a good idea because most people are not exercising, therefore it gives them an opportunity to be healthy,” says Lillian Zulu, a Zambian player.

The 16 teams have been fighting for the top spot and the winning team will go home with a trophy.