After two years of not taking place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual PG Bison Ugie Knockout Cup resumed in April 2022, much to the delight of soccer and netball players from the communities of Ugie, Elliot, MT Fletcher, and Maclear.
The tournament took place from 2 to 3 April, hosted by PG Bison at Ugie High School in the Eastern Cape. The Citizen Football Club from Elliot set a new record in PG Bison tournament history by winning with six goals. West Germany Association came in second with three goals. The winning team took home a trophy and R5 000, and the second-place team received R2 500.
The netball tournament winners were the under 25s from Ugie and the Mt Fletcher team for over 25s, each taking home a trophy and a prize of R3 000 cash. The second-place teams received a R1 500 cash prize.
Ugie is a town in the Joe Gqabi District Municipality in the Eastern Cape. PG Bison is one of the largest employers in the area, where it has a board factory and plantations. The Ugie Knockout Cup is one of several PG Bison community development initiatives in the region. It originally started out as a soccer tournament, but has grown to include a netball tournament too.
Lonwabo Mapoma, General Admin Clerk at PG Bison, says that after the community approached PG Bison to revive the tournaments again this year, PG Bison made it a priority. “The knockout cup is an excellent initiative for the community. The atmosphere was great; the soccer matches were highly competitive. The spectators and the children came in numbers to support the teams regardless of the weather conditions.”
The event consists of two days of soccer and netball events with teams competing from Ugie, Elliot, MT Fletcher, and Maclear. Tournaments are planned, with all promotional teams playing each other and the top two teams competing in the Ugie Knockout Cup. There are eight soccer teams in all, including two veteran teams. Netball tournaments also feature eight teams with junior and senior players.
Manager of the Ugie Veterans team, Harris Ngxangashe said, “We relay our word of thanks to PG Bison for making this event possible again after the hit of the pandemic. The event is very important and appreciated by the communities. Our children are kept busy and in good health and this programme also helps limit their chances of substance abuse.”
PG Bison ensured it was a fun-filled event for both players and spectators, providing meals for a total number of 1 000 children and community members, as well as providing gifts, such as branded school bags, and scarves.
“Overall, I think the sportsmen, sportswomen, children, and the community at large enjoyed the tournament,” said Mapoma. “In the next season, I would love to see our colleagues from the PG Bison board plant participate in the event too.”