ADVOCATE Dali Mpofu is proud that Springbok star Makazole Mapimpi also graced his annual Easter Rugby Tournament in the rural Eastern Cape on his rise to stardom.
The Sharks wing made history in Japan last Saturday by becoming the first Springbok to score a try in a Rugby World Cup final, helping his side to a 32-12 victory over England in Yokohama.
The 29-year-old boosted his tally for the tournament to six and his tries at the 2019 Rugby World Cup was second to Welshman Josh Adams who scored seven.
Mpofu, an EFF firebrand, hopes Mapimpi’s success will inspire more youth in rural areas to follow in his footsteps.
The speedy player grew up in Tsholomnqa in the rural Eastern Cape, miles away from South Africa's traditional rugby breeding grounds.
In 2013 Mapimpi took part in Mpofu’s sporting festival in Qhugqwala, where horse riding and rugby are a hit with the villagers.
Said Mpofu: “He was already a provincial rugby player when he played in my tournament. We are going for 10 years now hosting the competition and it means a lot for us to produce one Springbok.
Rugby is big in that area. When we started the tournament we unearthed a lot of talent and some players started their careers there.”
Mpofu hopes more stars in Mzansi will plough something back in communities they grew up in.
He went on: “I feel proud of Makazole, I hope people have throw back programs.
Those that are fortunate should make it in any little way or whatever they could to help others and this brought me joy.”