Physical challenge looms for Madibaz rugby team

Captain Luvo Claassen’s FNB Madibaz rugby team are gearing up for an extreme physical challenge when they tackle provincial rivals Walter Sisulu University in the Varsity Shield in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

The match is the second part of an Eastern Cape university double-header at the Madibaz Stadium, with Rhodes kicking off proceedings against Fort Hare at 5pm.

This will be followed by the clash between of two of the competition’s heavyweights at 7pm.

Both the Nelson Mandela University outfit and Walter Sisulu are coming off opening-round victories and the scene is set for an explosive showdown.

Claassen, the Player that Rocks in their win against KwaZulu-Natal last Friday, said they were delighted to pick up five points in that match but they realised there was still a long way to go.

“We know that Walter Sisulu are a very physical side and we will have to front up for that,” he said.

“It’s probably going to be one of the most physical games of the season and we are going to have to work very hard throughout the match.

“But our plan is always to focus on the things that we do well and to make sure we execute everything accurately.”

Having ended top of the log last season, the Madibaz skipper said he knew they would have a target on their backs this year.

“It will be a big test, but the guys are ready to take that on,” he added.

“We all know that a promotion spot is up for grabs, so that adds some spice to the competition this year.

“But we are prepared to embrace that challenge and we know we have to keep working hard.”

Claassen said he was pleased with their performance last week, especially as it was their opening game.

“We were very happy with the result and the defence was good – we were able to put pressure in the right areas and were delighted to come away with the win.”

Personally he felt he had “a bit of a shaky start” but improved as the game went on.

“Although I received the award, it was all due to the team effort. It was a well-balanced display and the guys worked hard to play in the right areas.

“Our kicking game was accurate and we managed the game very well.”

Madibaz Sport rugby manager Ntsikelelo Ngcakana said they were thrilled with the support they received last week and were anticipating another full stadium this Friday.

“I personally think moving the games to Friday was a great move and we couldn’t have asked for anything better from our supporters,” he said.

“This week will be huge for Nelson Mandela University and Eastern Cape rugby and we can’t wait to put on a great show.”

He said the team’s mandate was to “treat every game like a final”.

“We want to execute any opportunity that arises to make sure we get all the points we can. KZN pushed us hard and we will take that win and now focus on the next task ahead of us.”

CAPTION: FNB Madibaz captain Luvo Claassen is interviewed after winning the Player that Rocks award in the Varsity Shield rugby match against University of KwaZulu-Natal at the Madibaz Stadium last Friday. Photo: Michael Sheehan

Madibaz coach banking on squad’s depth in Varsity Shield

Building depth in his squad has been uppermost in coach Jarryd Buys’s mind as FNB Madibaz prepare for their opening Varsity Shield rugby match against University of KwaZulu-Natal in Port Elizabeth tomorrow.

The encounter is a repeat of last year’s semifinal at the same venue and will kick off at the Madibaz Stadium at 7pm.

Buys said their approach to the season was based on the fact that the team with most log points over 2019 and 2020 would be promoted to the Varsity Cup next year.

“It was important for us to get those 30 log points last year, knowing that if we finish on top of the log again, irrespective of the number of points, it will be enough to get us back into the Varsity Cup,” he said.

“So our plan from last season was to build depth and competition among the group so that as you get to the latter stages if you have injuries you have the players who can come on as good replacements and do a solid job.

“I believe we have accomplished that. We’ve got a very strong squad and we could field two teams of 15 which could do a good job. It’s very important to have that depth available.”

The Madibaz mentor is equally pleased with the format of the competition, with matches being played on Friday nights and limited to one a week.

“Last year there was a very hectic start to the tournament when we played four games in two weeks. So compared to that, this year is way better.

“We have four games and then a bye, followed by the last two round-robin matches.

“That really helps in terms of player management, but we know we have to just take it game by game.”

He said they had two home games and the aim would be to build up some momentum for the two away fixtures which followed.

While Buys did not feel playing on a Friday would change their strategy in any way, he backed the decision to move games to a weekend night.

“They want to try to get more students to the games and I think that will work. Friday and Saturday are your traditional rugby days and I think the atmosphere will be really good on Friday.”

As they enter a new season, Buys is banking on the meticulous preparation they have put in to make the right sort of start.

“I am very happy with the build-up we’ve had,” he said. “The guys are in great condition and in terms of what we’ve covered and how we’ve improved, everything is on track.

“There were some warm-up games which gave us valuable feedback and after months of hard work we are pretty excited to get started on Friday.

“We know that no team can be taken lightly and as we enter a new phase we will be concentrating on what we can do and try to execute that well to get the upper hand.”

The Madibaz fixtures are:

Feb 14: v UKZN in PE;  Feb 21: v Walter Sisulu in PE; Feb 28: v Rhodes in Grahamstown; Mar 6: v Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town; Mar 20: v Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria; Mar 27: v Fort Hare in PE

(Communications)

Madibaz retain EP women’s squash title

The Madibaz women’s squash team continued their dominance of the Eastern Province first league when they retained the title last month.

Last year the Nelson Mandela University outfit won the league for the first time since 2002, edging Crusaders by two points in the final standings.

This time it was a more conclusive result. Going into their last match against Londt Park needing just one point to remain champions, they finished 12 points ahead of their closest rivals.

Captain Bianca Brown, a senior player in the team, attributed their success to the focus they placed on preparations for the University Sport South Africa squash week.

“Obviously as we had the same team from last year we were fairly confident of doing well again in the league,” she said.

“But I think what really helped us was the hard work we put in ahead of the USSA week, which took place in early July. The spin-off of that is that we were able to compete really well in the league once again.”

Considering the lengthy gap between last year’s triumph and their previous success in 2002, Brown said it was encouraging to win it again.

“Yes it was really nice to back up last year’s win with another league title, which ensures that Madibaz squash remains in the spotlight,” she said. “It was good to show that we could still dominate the competition.”

The league success came after another good week in the USSA competition in July when Madibaz ended runners-up to the University of Johannesburg.

Brown, Hayley Ward and Dani Shone made up the USSA Best of the Rest team, while Ward was the women’s individual runner-up. The team came second in the women’s category.

Mikayla Boy, who along with Anli Thiel completed the women’s first league squad this year, was the USSA B section individual winner.

Looking ahead to 2020, Brown said they were hopeful of remaining competitive in the league and USSA.

“We have had the good depth for a couple of years, although I am not quite sure of my position at this stage for next year.

“But the rest of the squad will be available again and if there is a chance of picking up one or two first-years then I am sure we will still be a competitive team.”

Intervarsity a celebration of student activities

The Eastern Cape’s universities will gather for a celebration of student activities when the annual intervarsity takes place at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Friday and Saturday.

While the sporting fixtures will be a big attraction, Madibaz Director of Sport Yoliswa Lumka said the occasion lent itself to a wider programme of events, which they were excited about hosting this year.

Starting in 2017, she said the institutions – Nelson Mandela University, Rhodes, Fort Hare and Walter Sisulu – had discussed the pathway for the annual intervarsity.

“We crafted a document to showcase the purpose of intervarsity, as well as the inclusion of other events that will involve a lot more students of the four institutions,” said Lumka.

“For instance, this year a fashion show, a flash mob and a Women’s Day mentoring programme have been included.”

She added that it was a once-a-year opportunity for the students to participate in as many activities as they could and to enjoy themselves.

“My message to both Madibaz students and our visitors is the same – go out and support your teams, enjoy all the activities on offer and see as much of our beautiful campus as you can.”

Lumka felt the intervarsity played a critical role in maintaining important links between the institutions.

“There is only one opportunity where all four institutions in the Eastern Cape can interact with each other,” she said.

“It is crucial that the bonds and links between the students and staff of the institutions are strengthened on an annual basis.”

Significantly, Madibaz Sport will be hosting several other visitors this weekend.

“We have a number of guests from other institutions around the country who will be joining us to observe the programme on Friday and Saturday, so we are definitely doing something right,” said Lumka.

“The Eastern Cape is the longest-running intervarsity in the country and it inspires varsities in other provinces to try to establish similar occasions.”

Starting at 11.30 on Friday morning with the golf competition at Humewood, a total of 19 sports and activities will take place, culminating in the intervarsity prize-giving at the Madibaz Stadium on Saturday at 6 pm.

There will be a programme of high-quality sport at the stadium on Saturday, beginning with the women’s soccer final at noon.

This will be followed by the rugby clash between Fort Hare and Rhodes at 1.30pm and the men’s soccer final at 3 pm. The sporting action will end with the rugby match between Madibaz and Walter Sisulu at 4.30pm.

In sports where at least three institutions have entered, points will be allocated which will count towards the total for the overall intervarsity trophy.

The activities for Saturday, however, kick-off at 8 am at the South Campus (Building 6) with the institutions debating various trending topics related to the student environment.

There will also be a moot court set up from 9 am in the Law Faculty on South Campus where law students from the various institutions will engage in oral arguments.

Sporting graduates emerge with distinction

Cloudius Sagandira says combining an academic vocation with a sporting career is the best thing that could have happened to him while at Nelson Mandela University.

The Madibaz football star, a former captain of the club, has recently graduated with a doctorate in chemistry, but will look back on his varsity days with extreme gratitude for the opportunities he received.

He is one of 70 Madibaz Sport graduates who obtained their qualifications at the university’s graduation ceremonies in December and April after excelling on and off the field.

Among other high-profile student-athletes who graduated were ace swimming twins Alard and Alaric Basson and athletics star Ischke Senekal, all of whom have represented South Africa.

Sagandira said he embraced the challenges he faced in the lecture halls and on the sports fields, adding in a message to aspiring students that it was all about hard work.

“In terms of first-years it is about setting your goals and getting your priorities right,” he said.

“With the right sort of determination, hard work, passion, commitment, self-discipline and, above all, God’s grace, anything is achievable.

“And you should never settle for less.”

He said the latter comment was the best piece of advice he received at varsity, while he also tried to keep things in perspective.

“Whenever I achieve something really good, I always remember that I am not the first or the last to do it, and someone, somewhere has done it even better.

“I always want to find ways to improve, always be hungry and let humility lead the way as I follow.”

The demanding work he put in during his extensive laboratory research was balanced by the release he received on the training ground.

“After a heavy day indoors I used to refresh at soccer training in the evening,” said Sagandira.

“That was a very important routine for me to keep myself fresh and energised.

“Besides that, football really helped build my character, determination, competitiveness and discipline, as well as a sense of responsibility. It brought out the best in me.”

Sagandira said it was impossible to pay tribute to all the individuals who guided him through his varsity life.

“All I can say is that I got all the necessary support I needed where possible to be where am I am today and I am so grateful to NMU.

“This might sound like everything was given to me on a silver platter but, trust me, it was all through sweat and tears and I am glad it paid off.

“Most importantly, getting the opportunity to study and play soccer at Mandela University was the best thing to have happened to me. The academic and sporting environments were conducive to the pursuit of excellence in both fields.”

Shot put and discus exponent Senekal has qualified with an honours degree in education and said her varsity career combined her love for children and her passion for sport.

“Neither was more important than the other so I decided I would do both to the best of my abilities even if it meant less sleep for me,” said the Uitenhage-based athlete.

She added that her mantra was to “believe you can achieve”.

“My message to aspiring sports stars is to always test your limits and strive to make your weaknesses your strengths.

“Keep on believing that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

Senekal said the support she received from the university structures had been crucial during her time there.

“The education department allowed me time off to pursue my sporting career in the knowledge that it would be my responsibility to catch up with any work missed.

“Similarly, Madibaz Sport was understanding in allowing me off some evening events to catch up on my academic commitments, so that was very important in helping me achieve my objectives.”

The Basson swimming twins, who are doing postgraduate degrees in construction management, said finding a balance between work and play was essential to succeeding at university.

“My advice to first-years is to take time ‘not just to plant the mind but to also water the mind’,” said Alard.

“As a student it’s so easy to get yourself caught up in study stress and pressures that you forget to take a breath or a mental break.

“Taking time out to relax, and feeding your mind positive thoughts before taking on the next task, is crucial.

“As a sportsman you cannot do what the rest are doing, so associate yourself with students with a similar drive.

“The best advice I got was to enjoy the journey as far as possible instead of just focusing on the destination.”

Alaric said a focus on doing well in both fields helped him to manage the challenges he faced.

“It was never possible for me to really enjoy the ‘varsity life’ to the fullest, but my desire to achieve in both kept me motivated,” he said.

“Having achieved both in my sport and academically over the past few years has been rewarding and all the sacrifices have paid off and still are.”

They both paid tribute to the roles played by their parents and the varsity structures.

“Besides our family support, our aquatics manager Melinda Goosen and coach Mark Edge were major role players,” they said.

“In addition, the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport played a big part in helping us achieve what we have so far, so we are grateful to all those who have supported us.”

Madibaz deputy director of sport Riaan Osman said they prided themselves on the holistic development of their student-athletes.

“We are thankful to the various departments at the university with whom we collaborate to ensure our elite student-athletes achieve success in their academics,” he said.

“Sport scholarships are available to top achievers who register for courses of their choice, subject to them meeting the desired criteria.

“We then provide the necessary support to assist them in managing their studies, especially when they out of class competing in their various disciplines.”

He said they gave the student-athletes access to online digital platforms via the University Blended Learning initiatives, plus daily monitoring of their academic progress.

“If any red flags are identified, we intervene by providing tutors for the students to ensure they will ultimately graduate in their studies,” added Osman.

“Previously if student-athletes missed a test, they needed to write a make-up test, based on more work than the rest of the class were tested on.

“In essence, this disadvantaged the student, but thanks to the online access to study material, including lectures, they are now able to pursue their studies in conjunction with achieving success in their specific sporting disciplines.”

ROWING 101

Rowing is a sport that consists of rowers propelling a boat forward by means of oars. It can be a team sport or an individual sport and uses the full body. Within rowing, there are some interesting sayings and phrases. Below are some of the most important terms associated with rowing and some interesting words, like coxswain, ergometer, rigger and starboard. 

Firstly, the directions on a boat: The front of the boat is called the bow and the rower sitting closest to the bow will cross the line first. The left side of the boat is called the port, the right side is called the starboard and the back of the boat is called the stern.  

To propel the boat forward, oars are dipped into the water and the water displaced drives the boat. The cadence of the boat for all to follow is set by the stroke, who is the rower located nearest to the stern. There is an “on-the-water” coach called the coxswain (or cox), who also steers.  

In rowing, there is a feeling (called swing) that is difficult to define, but one that rowers appreciate because the effect can result in improved speed and performance. Sometimes, when there is no swing, another method is needed to get ahead of the competition. One such technique that can be employed is called the Power 10, whereby the rowers pull ten of their best strokes in the hopes of a win.  

Nelson Mandela University has an active rowing team that, while competitive, also has social aspects. Rowing is a wonderful opportunity to get outdoors, get some exercise, develop skills and have a good time. 

Varsity Shield Semi – Finals

Nelson Mandela University’s Varsity Shield team is through to the 2019 finals! Thursday 4 April saw the FNB Madibaz team beat FNB UKZN 46-0 in a superior display of rugby skills played on home ground.  

A tunnel made by The Southern Kings rugby players and Madibaz cheerleaders for the NMU boys started the match in a fierce manner and this fight continued until the final whistle of the match, with some decent points scored in the last few minutes. This Madibaz fire was seen off the field as well, as Buhle BenMazwi was named NMU’s Miss Varsity Shield 2019 and will represent Madibaz at the Miss Varsity Shield Final 2019. Other off-field entertainment included displays by the Madibaz cheerleaders, a spectator dance-off and a build-a-burger competition sponsored by Steers. 

The cold and typical Port Elizabeth wind did not seem to affect the Madibaz team nor their supporters as they cheered and chanted the boys to their sixth win, leaving them undefeated in the lead up to the finals against Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), whom NMU beat in round one 38 – 21. Hopefully, they can repeat this victory on Thursday 11 April. 

So warm up your vocal cords, wear your Madibaz navy and yellow and bring your gees to the NMU stadium on Thursday at 18:15 and do your part to help motivate our boys to win the Varsity Shield tournament. 

Photo of the Varsity Shield Semi-Finals post-match: Gina Cossavella 

Madibaz prove success story in SWD cricket

The Madibaz cricket team have sent out a message that they are a club to be taken seriously after winning the South Western Districts premier league for the second time.

Based in George, the Nelson Mandela University outfit defeated George Cricket Club by four wickets in the final earlier this month.

This came after the students eliminated defending champions Union Stars by 12 runs in a nail-biting, low-scoring playoff the previous day. After posting only 104, Madibaz restricted Union Stars to 92, thanks to brilliant spin bowling by Joshua Klue (4/9) and Joshua de Ponte (3/15).

It was the first time in a decade that Union Stars, who played in 10 consecutive finals of which they won nine, did not reach the final.

George campus sport manager Hugo Loubser said they were elated with the outcome as it was something they had targeted from the start of the season.

“We previously won the league in 2013-14 and we said to ourselves from the outset that if can get to the final this time, we are capable of matching any of the teams in the league,” he said.

“There are a number of students from schools in the Southern Cape who have decided to study at the George campus as they believe the university can provide the stage for them to perform.

“We are delivering on this and trust that more cricketers will buy into the Madibaz George cricket culture.”

At last year’s University Sport South Africa Week, the Madibaz team, comprising largely of players from the George campus, showed their ability by winning the B section of the tournament.

Loubser said a key driving force in their approach was that “nobody is bigger than the team”.

“The fear of failure does not exist among the players as they know that you will lose some matches. But the key is to turn up for the matches that matter.

“The players also understand their roles and know that responsibility is not something you pass on to the next person.”

He added that the premier league triumph was strong evidence of how cricket had progressed at the George campus.

“In 2007, we played in a ‘merchant’ league, which comprised six matches the entire season,” said Loubser.

“In 2013 we were promoted to the premier league, having won the promotion league.

“We won the premier league in our first season and have remained competitive ever since. Our second team plays in the reserve league.”

Adding to their establishment as a leading club has been the development of its facilities.

“We had the square rebuilt in 2013 and have since added sight screens, redeveloped the artificial nets and built a stand for players,” said Loubser.

“The cricket facility is now often used by SWD Cricket Board as a preferred venue for their SWD Cricket Academy programme.

The George students will now, together with the winners of Western Province and Boland, play in a series of matches from March 29 to 31 to determine the Western Cape representatives for the national club championship in Pretoria from April 13 to 17.

Loubser said there was a positive attitude in the camp ahead of the playoffs.

“This season we often had to face off against more experienced teams with more star players than us,” he said. “So we are looking forward to that challenge.”

CRICKET 101

Cricket has a lot of interesting terms and sayings uniquely associated with this almost five centuries old sport. Below are some of the most common (and strange) words and phrases you may hear when watching cricket.  

All out – When ten of the eleven batsmen are out. The last batsman cannot play without a partner.  

All-rounder – Most often a player who is proficient in both batting and bowling, sometimes a player who is decent as a batter or wicketkeeper or rarely a player who can bowl and keep wicket. This is a valuable player to have on the team.  

Appeal – When a batsman or his team disagree with an “out” decision that the umpire made and they ask for this decision to be re-evaluated.  

Bad light – Umpires can make the decision to suspend play if they deem the dim light a safety hazard for the batsman.  

Ball tampering – An illegal act in which a player (usually a bowler) makes unsanctioned alterations to the seam or the surface of the ball to make it more likely to perform in the way they want. 

Batting order – The order in which the team bats, starting with the first and second batsmen who are usually the best batsmen in the team. As one batsman is bowled or caught out, then next batsman in the order goes to bat. 

A four – Four runs are scored when the ball hits the ground first then rolls until it hits the boundary surrounding the field. 

A six – Six runs are scored when the ball is hit directly to the boundary and does not make contact with the ground. 

A maiden over – To bowl an over when the opposing team does not score any runs from the balls bowled.  

Caught out – When the ball is caught before touching the ground then the batsman is “caught out”, meaning he is finished batting. 

Century / HundredWhen one batsman scores one hundred runs in an innings.  

Half century / FiftyWhen one batsman scores fifty runs in an innings.  

Declaration – When the captain of the batting team decides to stop his team’s batting before all the batsmen have batted. This is usually part of a strategy. 

Dismiss – When a batsman is out.  

Duck – When a batsman scores no run before being out. 

Golden Duck When a batsman is out on the first ball he faces. 

Hat trick – When a bowler takes three wickets from three consecutive bowls 

Howzat? – A disgruntle appeal to the umpire.  

Innings – The period at which a batsman is batting before he is out.  

Over – Six consecutive balls bowled. Bowlers bowl an over then the bowler changes.   

Run – What points are called 

Wicket The three vertical stumps (sticks) with two horizontal bails (pegs) behind a batsman.   

Madibaz will stay grounded, says Prinsloo

The FNB Madibaz rugby team are riding the crest of a wave in the FNB Varsity Shield this season, but star loose forward Bevan Prinsloo says they will stay humble and remain focused on their goals.

Prinsloo was named the Player that Rocks after scoring four tries in the Nelson Mandela University side’s 41-12 win over the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Maritzburg last Monday, their fourth straight win in the competition.

The team have a bye this week but will be well placed to secure their spot in the top four play-offs when they resume their campaign against the Tshwane University of Technology in Port Elizabeth next Monday.

A first-year sports management student, the 19-year-old Prinsloo said they were pleased with their results but would not get carried away with their success.

“We are staying humble and keeping our feet on the ground,” the eighth man said. “I think that’s how any team should be.

“The guys are pleased with the way we are playing and we want to build on that and try to go from strength to strength.”

The former Grey High captain, who grew up in PE but now lives in George, said their overall aim was to win the Varsity Shield with a view to returning to the Varsity Cup competition.

“Our aim for the rest of the season is to make sure we don’t slip up anywhere and stick to the processes that we know.”

Prinsloo said his success this season was underpinned by a desire to add value to his team.

“My goals are very simple and that is just to go out there and try my best, never give up and always be there for my teammates.

“I try to do that by carrying the ball up hard to make metres and build momentum for the team.”

He added that he was on a learning curve at Madibaz rugby and enjoying the freedom that came within the team’s play structures.

“The environment is very welcoming and enjoyable and the coaches are very good. They know how to handle players and it creates a great environment for your development as a player.”

While his career is at an early stage, Prinsloo says he wants to do everything he can to reach a high level.

“I obviously like to carry the ball but I want to develop into an all-round player who can make an impact for his team and set an example to others.”