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Hilltop FC team up with #Pledge a pad, bid farewell to captain

Catherine Berlein

Rhodes’ Hilltop FC will be honouring their team’s long serving and present captain, Lizo Msululu, who will be graduating from Rhodes next year, by hosting a testimonial tournament on Friday, 19 August. The tournament will double as a #PledgeAPad initiative as those in attendance are encouraged to donate sanitary pads and tampons.

“We are addressing social issues and breaking the social barriers of class and race through sport,” says Hilltop FC player, Koaile Monaheng. The team has put a lot of work into creating awareness of gender equality as well as educating themselves on understanding menstruation in light of the recent #PledgeAPad initiative at Rhodes University and has therefore teamed up with this initiative for this tournament.

Hilltop FC has received tremendous support from societies such as Lesotho Society, Malawi Society, East Africa Society, The Presidents Award Society and Rhodes Football, as well as Saints Bistro and Campus Vibes, who will be donating prizes and hydration for the players.

Malawi Society has donated three tickets to their biggest event of the year, the MALSOC Basement Party, which will be awarded to the three individuals who make the biggest donations of sanitary pads and tampons. In addition, Saints bistro has also donated a number of meal vouchers for individuals who make the biggest donations.

Msululu is the last of the founding members of the Hilltop FC to graduate, and is an inspiring and influential figure within Rhodes football, both on and off of the field. In addition to his incredible skills as a player, he is also an encouraging and supportive leader to the team. Msululu has won the Hilltop Players’ Player of the year award for the past three years and is expected to win again this year. He was also named Rhodes’ men’s soccer first team captain at the beginning of this year.

The game in which Hilltop FC will be partaking includes a variety of players from top teams in the Rhodes Internal League who will be coming together to bid farewell to Msululu and say “Second half legend…Enkosi Mlizwana” says Monaheng.

As a whole, Hilltop FC has come a long way since it was founded in 2012. The team originated from Calata House, where six friends sat down and decided to form a football team. Since then the team has expanded and now includes players from other houses up the hill and beyond.

“Football, for us, has been the alternative to partying and drinking” says Monaheng, “It has built bridges of friendship and provided an inclusive space for all, despite our different backgrounds, here football connects us like a brotherhood; we are a family. I have met my lifelong friends at this club.”

To the players, Hilltop FC has become a home. A lot of work has gone into building the team brand, from shadowing at Spur, to residence fundraising and hunting sponsors all resulting in them having one of the best kits at Rhodes.

Hilltop FC has also participated in community engagement through sport with organisations such as the St. Mary’s community. Lizo Msululu has watched his dream materialise and Hilltop FC hopes to carry on his legacy. “I’ve watched Hilltop FC grow each and every year whilst still maintaining the high standards of professional football they have always maintained. Hilltop FC is a team where brotherhood, friendships and discipline have been born both on and off the field,” says Msululu

A moment of silence will be held in honour of Sam Sidloyi, a player from Hilltop FC’s rival Kunzai Dlamini Football Club (KDFC), who passed away last week.

The event will kick off at 17:00 on Friday on the Kings Field with the Rhodes Women’s First Team game and will proceed with the main event at 18:30 where Hilltop FC will take on RU internal league 2016 All Stars.

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