Rhino Cup Championship League (RCCL) Zim Iganyana Division hand over wards

By Tichaona Mataruse

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After the teams responded positively in partaking in conservational activities and battling in hot
pursuit for the Rhino cup, RCCL-Zim Iganyana division recently hosted the end of year awards to
teams at Hwange National Parks Main.
RCCL is made up of 20 teams drawn from the communities that are adjacent to the Hwange National
Park. Each team received a US$100 token of appreciation for participating in the league.
The Zebras of Chezhou were crowned 2022 Iganyana division champions and walked away with
US$1000, medals and a trophy. They finished the race with 93 points, two points above spirited
youthful side Honey Badgers.
There were also individual awards selected by the clubs’ coaches and captains.
The individual awards were given to the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year where they got certificates and
money.
The 11 soccer stars of the year are Frank Khumalo (Wild Warhogs F.C), Mbekezeli Ndlovu (Rock
Rabits), Admire Nyathi (Zebras), Lingson Sangura (Chapungu), Nathan Siaponeka (Rock Rabbits),
Abel Sibanda (Sparrows), Mduduzi Ndlovu ( Bush bucks), Likhwa Masuku (Eagles). Devine
Nekatambe was the Soccer Star of the Year, walking away with a trophy, price money of $US50 and
a golden boot as he has 40 goals to his name. Nathan Siaponeka (Rock Rabbits) and Michael Nedziwe
(Honey badgers) were first and second runners up respectively.
With the teams named after animals to curb illegal activities in the Park, RCCL President Dominic
Nyathi who is also the Community Liaison Officer urged the players to do more on conservation
activities during off season.
“As players we should always look out for the wild animals and desist from poaching activities,” he
advised.
“As the league commences next year I want teams to mime the sound of the animal which they
represent so that visiting team also get to know about their opponents. Players must also be able to
protect the animals and do conservation activities. As a region we are on position two with 98 percent
on conservation management which shows that we are working very hard for wildlife livelihoods, and
salute all who participated in conservation activities to make this day memorable as we give poaching
a red card,” said Nyathi.

Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) Operations Manager David Kuwawoga felt honoured to be part of
the ceremony in conserving nature through sport. He said people are important for the future of the
painted dogs which are a special protected species as conservation skills have played an important
role for wildlife thriving.
“PDC is honoured to be part of this programme as we thank the work done the players who partook in
conservation activities in trying to reduce poaching. Conservation without people is meaningless. The
environment in which painted dogs live is with people, so people are part and parcel of the future for
the painted dog to thrive. Continue with the good work in sustaining our environment and enhancing
the livelihoods of the wildlife,” said Kuvawoga.
The teams were also given two trees each to plant in their respective communities as the ceremony
coincided with the National tree planting which is done on the first Saturday of December annually.

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