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Apart from scorching temperatures soaring way over 45 degrees celsius, Pafuri in Mozambique was hot for other reasons this February. The inaugural Pafuri Regional Championships of the World Parks, World Cup, kicked off with great fanfare.
The tournament set an exciting trend as the world’s first community based transfrontier football competition. It aims to bring the value of transfrontier parks to the forefront of people’s minds both locally and internationally – bringing together people, the environment and conservation.
The tournament also celebrates communities, park and law enforcement officials who sacrifice communal land, time and energy to make national and transfrontier parks possible for the whole world to enjoy and explore, while ensuring that these awe-inspiring protected areas are safeguarded for future generations. World Parks, World Cup see this annual tournament at a driver to kick start social development programmes through sports for schools, youth and the wider community across transfrontier conservation areas.
The event involves communities in remote transfrontier park regions of Southern Africa, and the first tournament did not disappoint. Communities from South Africa and Mozambique who lie within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) entered teams and played their hearts out for the championship title this February 20th. Twelve games were played throughout the day, seeing the Mozambique teams come out strong from the beginning.
After some serious competition, the Pafuri Team of Mozambique was crowned the first GLTFCA Pafuri regional champs. The Limpopo National Park (Mozambique) came in at a very close second, just losing out in their second game with a draw. Mugumbane, from Mozambique, took a well-earned third place while the Kruger National Park/South African Police Services team (the only South African team) just missed a spot on the podium to claim the fourth position.
All teams look forward to participating in the 2017 Pafuri Regional Championship and plans are underway to include Zimbabwe in this event.