As a team that competed in the Varsity Cup semi-finals not so long ago, the Nelson Mandela University (Madibaz) Rugby Team was shocked to find itself relegated from the Varsity Cup last year. The team will now spend the next two seasons in the Varsity Shield log, in hopes of being the team that will be promoted to the Cup log.
Being in the Shield log means that “we are not where we want to be and where we should be as this great University Team. It means we have to perform at our utmost best to get back into the Cup as soon as possible, to give the youngsters of the Eastern Cape a platform to play their rugby post-high school,” explained Athi Mayinje, a player from the Madibaz Rugby Team. “We will have to take it game by game and trust the process, as each game will serve as a challenge,” he added.
The team is in a rebuilding phase as it has lost a significant number of experienced and senior players. “Two of our players are playing Pro, and 14 others are unqualified for one reason or another. So expect a young and hungry side to make right the wrongs of the past,” said Athi. “The players have put in many hours of training throughout December and January. The hard work has been laid, but now we have to deliver on the field.” We can be sure to anticipate exhilarating games from the young players who are willing to prove their worth and be witnesses of their determination to carry the team back into the Cup log.
Supporters are urged to come out in numbers in the spirit of oneness, to be patient and to build with the team. The Madibaz team will kick off the Varsity Shield log against the FNB CPUT team on 18 February 2019 at the Madibaz Stadium, with their following game being at the BCM Stadium against the FNB WSU team on 21 February 2019.