In mid December each year a Soccer match is played as a curtain raiser to the Staff Christmas Party. The well know Londolozi Leopards; our very own established football team consisting of butlers, gardeners, and trackers take on the make-shift team nicknamed the Londolozi Hyenas… to call the Hyenas a Soccer/Football team is a huge overstatement. It is basically a collection of as many unfit rangers, camp managers and accountants as can be thrown together on the day. The Hyenas are then supplemented by any other staff member who is capable of kicking a ball. It’s an exhibition match that gets the staff in a joyous mood as they all flock to the sidelines of the field to cheer the two teams on.
What the game lacks in skill and flare it makes up in passion and effort. Even though it is a game that has no meaning at all…there is the major factor of bragging rights. It’s a David vs. Goliath event and played in great spirits! This year for the first time in decades the motley bunch of untrained, uncoordinated Hyenas managed to beat the Leopards in a high scoring game.
The whooping sounds of Hyena Fans could be heard throughout the 60 minute match. We ran in circles around the field chasing the Leopards back and forth; our bodies not quite what they used to be. The final score of 6 – 4 is evidence of the very open nature of the game. It was anyones for the taking. The game included wonderful moments of sportsman ship, passion, aggression, brilliance, laughter and comedy…it even included a staff member streaking across the field.
After the final whislte was blown the Hyenas held their hands up in victory…no one at Londolozi can remember the Leopards being beaten. Gracious in defeat, the Leopards joined the Hyenas and the fans at the village for the christmas celebrations that would continue into the early hours…
Well done to both teams on a fantastic match and thanks to all the spectators for the support.
Written by Adam Bannister
Photography by Jill Mason