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June 1, 2004

Sono launches inaugural King Sono deaf championship

From: SABC News, South Africa - Jun 1, 2004

June 01, 2004, 15:39

African governments came under heavy attack from Makhosini Makhubela, a disgruntled deaf soccer administrator, during an emotional launch of the annual King Jomo Sono Deaf Championship today.

However, this historic moment - the launch of the first ever tournament at a top hotel in Johannesburg - attracted poor attendance from the media. Makhubela, who represented Swaziland, hosts of the King Sono Deaf Championship, announced that his country, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the only four participating countries.

He said the six day event will start from June 20 until the 26.

An emotional Makhubela pulled no punches during the launch when he lambasted governments for their ignorance of the plight of the deaf. He said through an interpreter: "They have for too long denied us access to participate in competitions like football which is widely played within all parts of Africa. These people should change their attitude and emulate King Jomo Sono's initiative.

"I wish to thank the people of South Africa for taking care of Jomo during turbulent times until today, otherwise the deaf community would not have experienced the fruit of his warmth, comfort and generosity."

Sono, the owner and mentor of Jomo Cosmos, said the naming of the event after his name was a touching experience.

Sansui will donate R25 000 while Puma will provide all the participating clubs with playing outfits. Dale Holmes, who is the acting president of the SA Deaf Football Association, said they also asked Sono to help bring to South Africa the Deaf World Cup in 2007.

The South African Deaf squad is currently in camp preparing to meet the winners between Ghana and Nigeria for the qualification for the Deaf Olympics in Australia next year. - Sapa

Article printout courtesy of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
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