By Siyolise Gqongwana
With COVID-19 protocol slightly mitigated, varsity sport is approaching the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. The days of empty, echoey grandstands are seemingly coming to an end – which spells good news for our athletes, especially those who thrive on the intoxicating roar of the crowd.
While the majority of sporting events were halted last year, a few Madibaz sports teams were still fortunate enough to take part in some exciting competitions and will be looking for more of the same this year.
On the 22nd of September 2021, the Madibaz Basketball outfit, led by Andrew Uithaler (head coach), took it upon their stride to host what turned out to be a successful USSA (University Sport South Africa) Championship tournament. Not so much on the results front, but in ensuring a smooth, protocol adhering event – which is no trivial task. The side played 6 matches, of which they could only manage 1 positive result, a satisfying 49-61 victory against Eastern Cape counterparts Rhodes University.
Andrew Uithaler will be desperate for ways to enhance his side’s performance in a few key areas before heading to this year’s USSA Basketball Championship, hosted by the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) later this year, on 5-9 December.
On the other side of the court, the Madibaz Netball camp also enjoyed a fruitful USSA tournament, particularly: Jeanie Steyn, Siphosethu Kilani, Mothira Mohammad, Noluthando Maliehe and Juanita van Tonder, who were all chosen for the USSA team to represent South Africa in the CUCSA (Confederation of University & Colleges Sport Association) games to be hosted by Malawi in December 2022.
The CUCSA games are a prestigious sporting event that offer plenty of exposure and opportunities for young talent. They are hosted biennially and include 10 African countries competing in various sporting codes.
Furthermore, the highly anticipated 2022 FNB Varsity Cup campaign is well underway. For the first time in 2 years, fans are welcome back in stadiums – on condition that they present vaccination certificates upon entry and adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.
Although attendance is limited to only 2000 per match, the camaraderie in the grandstand and the harmonious chanting of “amagwijo” have evidently been inspiring players to play with their hearts on sleeves.
Photo credit: Madibaz Sport