An official of a soccer club in the remote Cape Winelands area of the country’s Western Cape province says that soccer has two structures: organized and unorganized.
He says that the organized structure is governed by tournaments sanctioned by the South African Football Association. Anyone can organize a competition for money under the unorganized framework, and any team can come and participate. The football association, on the other hand, does not allow member clubs to play unorganized soccer, and vice versa.
Organized soccer in South Africa can be played across many tiers under the South African Football Association (SAFA). Betting enthusiasts can make wagers after the Betway app download is finished right from their mobile devices.
The unorganized structure of soccer among working people, dubbed “gambling games,” has been the subject of post-doctoral study. Prior to beginning fieldwork research among farm laborers in Rawsonville, a commercial agricultural district in the Western Cape, I had the idea that this exploited workforce’s life was devoid of sporting activity.
If you only looked at the organized structures, this would be true. A rich and relevant world of working-class sports opened up via the prism of “unorganized” soccer. The fundamental idea driving the organization of unorganized soccer games and competitions was betting (with money, brandy, sheep, or other stakes).
The gambling games at Rawsonville were almost always set up between two soccer clubs or squads. A tournament was defined as a competition between more than two teams for a single prize pool or other prizes. A tournament was held in a knockout style with up to eight teams participating. The games began when the players gathered, a referee was selected, and stakes were agreed upon.
It is a rather unconventional way of gambling, even with the emergence of top betting companies like Betway in South Africa, but a way of life for the people.
The tournament may be announced a week ahead of time, but the actual number of participants would not be known until the day of the event. It was fairly uncommon to announce or change the prize money distribution while the games were still in progress. Late arrivals were not unusual nor unwanted; they were quickly accommodated.
Although most soccer clubs regarded the organized leagues associated with and administered by the local football organizations of the South African Football Association (SAFA) as more prestigious, they were supported – at least indirectly – by the unorganized system of gambling games.
The chance of “getting promoted to Castle league, Vodacom League, and the possibility of one day playing PSL” drew the great majority of soccer teams to SAFA’s organized systems. According to the same executive, despite the fact that SAFA is in control of all soccer in South Africa, the organization has not made soccer accessible to everybody.
“We are being told that the benefits are being promoted to Castle (now SAB) regional league, Vodacom (provincial) League, and the possibility of one day playing PSL (Professional Soccer League), getting sponsorships from SAFA. But there is more money being invested in unorganized soccer than there is money being invested in organized soccer.”
He went on to say that the money wasn’t SAFA’s, but rather private money. The term “private money” does not relate to official private or corporate sector sponsorship, but rather to the funds that individuals or groups, primarily working men, invest in their own soccer teams.
You can access and bet on much of the SAFA-organised leagues and tournaments on the Betway platform, one of the leading betting firms in the continent.