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Sport Clubs - Date: 21 August 2019
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As is the case with most clubs, it needs a “champion”. That is someone who not only gets a bright idea, but who also has the tenacity and ingenuity to put it into practice. In the case of the touch rugby club, that person is Tony Marageni.
Tony was introduced to rugby when he was still a little “bulletjie” at Laerskool Louis Trichardt. Like the rest of the boys (and even the odd girl) he tackled, kicked and ran for dear life while mums and dads were loudly cheering from the side. The rugby matches continued in high school and he eventually played for High School Louis Trichardt’s first side.
After school, Tony went to the city to study and obtained a B Com degree in sports and recreation management. He then did an honours degree in sports management studies at the University of Johannesburg. After working in a “9 to 5” job for a while, he decided to pursue his passion and returned to Madombidzha in the Soutpansberg, where he started his own sport-development enterprise.
|Some action during a touch rugby match.|
Tony realised that rugby as a sport needed more players from rural areas. It cannot be considered a national sport if it does not touch the hearts of all people living in the country. He decided to start a rugby club in Madombidzha. His plan is to introduce the sport gradually at junior level and develop a league. Tony believes that, within a few years, he will have rugby teams from the rural areas in Vhembe competing with the top school teams in the province and country.
With facilities being a problem in rural areas, Tony and his friends had to turn elsewhere to find solutions. They found a patron in the Louis Trichardt Rugby Club, who made facilities available to them. They also realised that a need existed for a “softer” form of rugby that is very sociable with fewer risks of injuries. At the same time, the club does not oppose or try to duplicate the local rugby club’s programmes and leagues. In November 2018, Tony discussed the idea with his friends, Zwiande Mbedzi, Slovo Nephawe, Lucky Dagada and Jimmy Luvhimba, and the Louis Trichardt Touch Rugby club was formed.
Currently, the club’s activities are very informal. The teams get together on Sunday afternoons at 14:30 at the Louis Trichardt Rugby Club’s field. The aim is to build social cohesion in town and give people an opportunity to network. No joining fees are charged, and all players are welcome. The idea is, however, to push the club towards more formal participation in leagues.
“We have entered the USN Spring Day Touch Rugby tournament that will take place on 1 September 2019 at Loftus Park. We intend to enter such tournaments and to host some in LTT as well,” says Tony.
Touch rugby is still in its infant stages in Limpopo. “We are currently only aware of one other touch rugby club, namely Black Vikings from Phalaborwa. We encourage other towns to also create touch rugby initiatives as it is growing nationally and we would like to create a Limpopo league,” Tony adds.
|One of the players in action during a touch rugby match.|
It is also not only about sport. The club members want to encourage community upliftment programmes, especially among the youth. A number of businesses have shown their support for the initiatives. “We currently partner with Trash Converters, Lidi Productions, Belluca Foods, Harnham Guest House, as well as Hands of Light Massage Therapy,” says Tony.
For more information about the club, Tony Marageni can be contacted on 065 829 5655. The club’s social media pages are as follows: Instagram - @LTT_Touch_Rugby_ and on Facebook - Louis Trichardt Touch Rugby.
Tony Marageni (middle) is one of the founder members of the LTT Touch Rugby Club.