The Madibaz men’s basketball team have set their sights on qualifying for the playoffs in the University Sport South Africa tournament that starts in Gqeberha on Wednesday.
“We have set ourselves the goal of finishing in the top eight and then to see what happens in the playoffs,” coach Andrew Uithaler summed up his team’s objectives.
“We will try to achieve that by taking it one game at a time.”
He said Madibaz had previously ranked in the top eight in the nation until slipping a few positions recently.
“So that is an important objective for us because it means qualification for Varsity Basketball, which is great for the younger players and a major recruitment opportunity for the sport at Madibaz.”
Nelson Mandela University are among 16 sides in each of the men’s and women’s draws who will fight it out for the titles at the South and Missionvale campuses until Sunday.
Despite the challenging conditions in the build-up to the tournament, Uithaler said they were ready.
“We know there are some top-tier outfits but, because the basketball landscape can change so quickly, and we haven’t seen the universities in action for two years, it definitely is going to be an interesting tournament.”
He added that they would be up against University of KwaZulu-Natal, UCT and Rhodes in the round-robin phase, with the top two from each of the four groups advancing to the quarterfinals.
Women’s coach Luyanda Magwaca said his team would be working hard to show their ability on court.
“What’s happened before is not that important and we are just focused on what lies ahead of us this week. In sport, as in life, one faces challenges, but it’s all about how one responds that builds character.
“That’s what differentiates an average person from a well-rounded individual, so we will have no fear and just see those challenges as opportunities.”
Due to limited time on court this year, he felt it could be anyone’s title, but acknowledged that Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of Johannesburg were among the favourites.
Magwaca added that it was “an honour to be part of the Madibaz Basketball programme”.
“The institution and teams have been nothing but amazing and are working hard to make sure the week goes according to plan. So much has been done to ensure the safety of everyone.
“Madibaz Sport have done excellent work as hosts. I feel this will benefit the sport at the varsity going forward.”
The groups are:
Group A: UJ, UP-Tuks, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Walter Sisulu
Group B: UKZN, UCT, Madibaz, Rhodes
Group C: Wits, Tshwane University of Technology, Fort Hare, Durban University of Technology
Group D: Vaal University of Technology, UWC, Mangosuthu University of Technology, University of Limpopo
Group A: Vaal University of Technology, UCT, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology
Group B: UJ, UP-Tuks, Madibaz, Durban University of Technology
Group C: Cape Peninsula University of Technology, UKZN, Rhodes, Fort Hare
Group D: Wits, UWC, University of Limpopo, Walter Sisulu