The hills and valleys of Ilenge are the witnesses of the establishment of soccer tournaments in 1977. It started without thinking of the change and impact that will make to the entire community of Ilenge. It started during winter season by the Youth of Ilenge, there were three teams from KwaNomuja(Entantshananeni), Esambaneni and kwaMkhono.
In 1979 the Youth of KwaNomuja and Esambaneni informally formed a Team called Amajuba-adlukhethe FC which eventually changed to a formal Team called Jobskop Hereos FC. In 1980 many Teams were formed namely: Winter Roses from Debedebeni led by Mbongeni “Sikhasa” Zondi and Themba Khanyile, Ilenge Vultures led by Mbongeleni Ndebele & Sika Ndlovu, All Stars led by Maxhaphozi (B) Sithole & Mduduzwa Mweli(Late), Mhlumayo United led by Thulebona Zwane & Makhathini Madondo. The mentioned Teams really showed a lot of undiscovered talent within the community however there was no access and knowledge to professional level due to previously disadvantaged environment.
In 1980’s Sun Rise was formed led by Phikinkani “Mashayandawonye” Hlatshwayo,. Douglas Buffalos was also formed in 1952 led by Siphiwe Mkhize (Late), Duma Mkhize & Gilandi Buthelezi . In 1984 Invitation Eleven FC was formed led by Nqanyane Ntini, Zenzinkosi “Disco”Ntini & Mehlo Ntini , in 1987 Computer United was formed led by Babo Sithole, Nqulunga Sithole, Shokwakhe Dlamini, Mbongeni Mhlongo& Mdabuli ‘Sikibha” Sithole.
In 1990’s Rovers from KwaMkhono was led by Tholomunye Mbhele known as Ngxi , Ndaha Sithole& Sinxadi Sithole. Rovers were also Champions of other tournaments.
The known Champions for the Tournament was All Stars FC and Sun Rise FC, they were regular teams to reach ﬁnals. Junior Pirates FC was formed in 1994 led by Zama Sithole & Makhuthuza Sithole. Happy Bees FC was also formed around 1994 led by Mashezi Qwabe & Mhlangulwa Qwabe. In 1998 other Teams were formed namely, Moving Stars FC led by Ndiya Buthelezi, Brazil FC led by Qula Sithole, Rabit Fire FC led by Mbongeni Mhlongo. Moving Stars was a very popular team that drew lot of supporters and won lot of Trophies in consecutive years.
There were also best Team Managers that were known just for their contribution and the love of the game, to mention a few Mduduzwa “Mabhenyenye” Mweli , Maxhaphozi B Sithole, “Skara” Nzuza.
Best Players in 1980’s were “Skara” Mweli (Jersey #13 position 11), Mndiya Mweli, Zikhethele “Terror” Gabela(Jersey #12), Thobi “Jomo” Sithebe(position 10 Jersey #10), Gubuzela “1010” Mhlongo(Jersey #Position 9) mentioned players were most from All Stars. Mhlumayo United had “Jimmy Sithebeand Skebhe Maphumulo(Goalkeeper)
In 1990’s best players were Computer Sithole, Ace Sithebe Khulumane Bandla just to mention a few… Best players from 1998 were ( Thando Makhunga, Sanele Sibiya, Mzamo “Mercedes” Makhunga, Jethro Msomi(Best Goal Keeper), Celi Ngema, Zama Makhunga(Captain), Lucky Gabela, Sandile Makhunga, Bongani Sibiya, Zaba “Raphahlela” Makhunga, Zobaphi “Coach” Madonsela(late), Menelisi “Skara” “Makhathaza” Ngobese(Late), Bheki “Mambusha” Ndlamlenze, Bongumusa “Jockey” Mkhize, Nkosana Ndebele.
The TOURNAMENT is Ilenge’s prestigious event that draws together tourists, local people, business, youth, community organisations, media and visitors from all over the KwaZulu Natal Province on an annual basis to celebrate the community’s richness, diversity, dynamism and heritage.
The TOURNAMENT offers sponsors the opportunity to promote nation-building, advance social cohesion and boost economic development in the most important rural community in MSINGA. It will enable the people of MSINGA and surrounding areas to come together in a fun, relaxed environment infused with a positive spirit. We believe that our Tournament can change lots of things in our community by creating peace and unity through sports with number of youth programs that will bring hope.