Nzango (Congo)

Name of sport (game)

Nzango

Name in native language

Nzango or Dzango, Kange

Place of practice (continent, state, nation)

Democratic Republic of Congo
Sport practiced exclusively by women

History

"Nzango" literally means "foot game" in the local Lingala language. This name is used in the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the eastern part, it’s called Kange.
Nzango originates from Congo. It had been practiced by primary school children and in Brazaville it later became a sport discipline managed by a Federation led by Blanche Akouala. The efforts of Guy Noel Mpassi Titov, an employee of Ministry of Health and Vice President of Fédération Congolaise de Nzango, were an impulse to transform the game into the sport. The sport increased its popularity from few regions of the country to nationwide and international popularity (eg. Gabon and Cameroon).
Modern Nzango was approved by ministerial decree in 2005 in Congo-Brazzaville. Since then, official rules have been created, official matches have been organized, and in 2009 the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has also included them in its sporting legislation.
It is considered the national sport of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Description

Nzango is a simple game for girls, which initially had been played during school breaks. It has gradually been gaining the reputation of sport recently. Codified with precise rules, it is played on a pitch measuring 8 meters by 16 meters, marked with a red central stripe and two blue ones on the sides. It’s played by two teams of 17 - eleven players and six reserves. A game lasts 50 minutes.
The rules may seem complicated but in fact, they are relatively simple. The goal of the game is to copy the movements of the dancing opponent as accurately as possible. At the beginning of the game, the teams choose a foot by which to attack, with one team side taking the right foot, and the other team side the left foot.
Teams attack or defend alternately with the rhythm of clapping and songs chanted by all participants with the accompanying clapping. The singing determines the rhythm of competition. Slow causes movements of the players to be more similar, along with the acceleration, the competition also gains momentum and becomes more difficult.
Teams are facing each other at a distance of about 2 meters.
Then the first two players step forward. The goal of the player from the attack team is to move forward on their designated attack foot at the same time as their opponent does.
Such movements are invariably preceded by ever more elaborate jumps -- as you can't lose a point while both feet are in the air.
The referee assesses whether the players have mimicked the opponent's dance steps. The referee awards points (called "feet") to players who place their feet just like their opponents. Gradually, players are eliminated, and only one player remains on the pitch. Yellow and red cards are used to punish those who break the rules of the game.
The winning team is the one that collects the most "feet" during the entire match.
The sport can be also practiced by people with disabilities.

Current status

Practiced sport
The Nzango Federation has been organizing a championship since 2010. Nzango was demonstrated during the African Games in Brazzaville in 2015 (2015 All Africa Games).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has adopted a new sport discipline called Nzango n 2001. The President of the Nzango Kinshasa League, Victorine Mbombo, wants to make Nzango a sport discipline such as football, basketball or volleyball. Already more than 25 teams have been registered at the headquarters of the Nzango Provincial League located in the municipality of Gombe. The Kinshasa province is divided into two leagues: the Kinshasa East league and the Kinshasa West league. President Victorine Mbombo is a supporter of promotion of this sport.

Importance


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