Nortje’s varsity career key to his development

Former Madibaz cricketer Anrich Nortje, who is fast emerging as one of South Africa’s brightest bowling prospects, says a broader approach to life has helped him hugely during his cricket career.

The 25-year-old paceman has been forced to undergo a number of rehabilitation periods, but the hard work he has put in and the support he has received from a number of role players at Nelson Mandela University have seen him reap rich rewards.

This has come in the form of a contract with Kolkata Knight Riders to play in the Indian Premier League later this year, a much sought-after deal among modern-day cricketers.

Nortje has worked his way steadily through the ranks and caught the eye with a number of influential performances in the inaugural Mzansi Super League late last year.

An ankle injury derailed his participation in the Twenty20 competition, but his experiences at Mandela University where he had some injury problems have toughened him mentally for these sorts of challenges.

“I learnt quite a bit from my varsity days,” said Nortje. “Among them was being patient while playing and also being patient when injured.

“I learnt to work hard towards certain goals during my time with Madibaz.”

He said gaining a degree – he has a B.Comm in financial planning and a postgraduate diploma – was essential to his long-term development as a cricketer.

“When I first went to varsity I just wanted to play cricket,” said Nortje, who was schooled at Handhaaf Primary and Daniel Pienaar in Uitenhage.

“But after the first injury I started shifting my mindset to focus on my studies. I believe that is something that every cricketer needs.

“You can’t focus only on sport and hope it works out. Even if you have a decent career there is still an after-sport career that you’ll need to pursue and to have something to fall back on is very important.”

He said having his academic career to focus on when he was injured helped him get through the frustrations of rehabilitation.

“I put all my focus on my studies and almost tried not to think about the rehab too much. I still did what needed to be done, but it wasn’t my main focus. That helped me get through two long-term injuries.”

He recalls his playing days at Madibaz with fondness, saying he always looked forward to the chance to work on certain skills with the university coaches.

“Our main focus was to improve and to try certain things in a game that we had been practising. Especially when we were on top of another team we tried to execute some of our skills as bowlers even if it wasn’t necessary, just to see where you were.”

Nortje, who lives in Humewood in Port Elizabeth, said he had always worked on his fitness, even at a school level, where he was guided by biokineticist Runeshan Moodley, who was then at Muir College and later worked at Madibaz Sport.

“When I got to varsity Francois Holder was the trainer who really pushed us and it was something all of us needed.

“He was very understanding as well and knew how to handle us – when we had to take breaks and when we had to push on.

“As youngsters, you just want to push on every day and he helped with finding the right balance between the cricket and feet-up time.

“Baakier Abrahams was our coach at the time and he also played a big role in pushing all of the players to go to the next level.

“It was great to have someone who wanted the players to play at senior provincial level and franchise level. It made life easier to have your coach fighting the fight with you!”

After breaking a collarbone playing rugby in Grade 11, Nortje felt it was time to focus on cricket.

“When I started playing provincial cricket at U15 and U18 level I knew it was the sport I had to work hard on. After breaking my collarbone in rugby, all the focus was on cricket.”

About to embark on his latest adventure, Nortje is champing at the bit for the league which starts on March 23.

“IPL is definitely one of my dreams come true,” he said. “I really can’t wait to get out onto the field to represent the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase your skills and to show the world what you can do. I still remember playing indoor cricket and watching IPL on the big screen and now I really can’t wait for my chance.”

He said his recovery from the ankle injury was going well and he hoped to make a comeback at the start of February for the Warriors, when the national one-day competition gets under way.


Madibaz Sports Function to Honour Top Achievers


Madibaz Sport will take the opportunity to honour a wide range of achievers when they hold a gala function at the Madibaz Indoor Sports Centre on Friday.

For the first time in several years this will be a sports-only function to recognise those who have made a contribution in their specific fields at Nelson Mandela University.

The sports stars were previously honoured at the Achievers Awards function, where the university recognised excellence across all student activities.

Madibaz director of sport Yoliswa Lumka said standalone sports awards evenings had been held previously, before they were amalgamated with the Achievers Awards function.

She added that by holding a separate sports evening it provided greater scope for them to honour those who had excelled during the year.

“Madibaz Sport has representation on all campuses of the university and represents 21 recognised codes,” she said.

“We annually sit with a long list of sports achievers but could not honour them in the appropriate manner due to the consolidated Achievers Awards function.

“By having our own function there is the opportunity to recognise our sports people as well as a chance for the university to see the depth of the work done annually on the sports fields.”

She said they felt it was critically important for Madibaz Sport to host a function such as this to ensure those who contributed so much were adequately recognised.

“The awards will cover a wide range of categories which will include individual achievements, success on a technical or coaching front, and contributions to outreach programmes,” said Lumka.

Madibaz Sport will also use the occasion to honour former president Nelson Mandela by inviting his grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela, to be the guest speaker.

“The reason for this is particularly for him to speak about our theme of ‘His Story, Our Story’, which highlights the importance of the late president and his 100 years, as well as to continue [telling] the story of Nelson Mandela to the next generation of Mandela University students.

“We will be launching our 10 sports ambassadors in celebration of the centenary of Mandela’s birth, with the theme in mind of taking over the baton for the next generation.”

The ambassadors will be revealed at the sports awards function.

Picture: Brittany Blaauw

Madibaz surfers fired up for Vic Bay challenge

Madibaznews Madibaz surf

The Madibaz surfing team will be aiming to go all the way when they target the University Sport South Africa title at Victoria Bay near George, starting tomorrow, July 18th.

In last year’s tournament, the Nelson Mandela Bay surfers came within a whisker of winning the overall title, ultimately losing to the University of Cape Town by just eight points.

Madibaz Surfing manager Melinda Goosen said today that, following a weekend camp at Vic Bay last month, there was a sense of confidence in the squad.

“The team selection started in April already, when the first trials were held.”

“The team was finalised after three sets of trials and the surfers spent a weekend in Vic Bay from June 15 to 17 for their final preparations.”

Good conditions were expected at the popular surfing spot on the Southern Cape coastline, but Goosen acknowledged that the Madibaz surfers would have to adapt to some challenges.

“The conditions can also get tough and we will just concentrate on the competition day by day,” she said.

“The surf will obviously be the same for everyone and it is the surfer who comes out best on the day who will progress.”

“We have had good results at Vic Bay in previous years and we hope to build on that.”

Goosen added that they had a number of talented and experienced surfers in their squad. Some had competed in previous USSA tournaments and knew what to expect.

“Gregory Cuthbert, our top male, who came second in the individual section last year, and Tristan Pringle, who made the 2017 semifinals, will be leading the way.”

“On the women’s side, Britney Linder is our No 1 seed. She finished second last year. We also have a newcomer in Tahra Uren, but she is an experienced surfer and will add much value to the squad.”

“Over the years we have had good team dynamics, with all our surfers progressing to the second round, which is a great achievement in itself.”

Besides the individual performances, she said the team effort was as important, with an overall score reflecting a combination of men’s and women’s scores.

“Male teams consist of eight surfers and the women of four. This year we have a full team for both men and women and we have set our sights on the overall title.”

She felt their greatest strength would be the unity in the squad. “Although it is still an individual event, the spirit and support within the team are great. Even surfing against each other in the heats, the guys and the girls tend to support each other very well.”

The USSA week, which is supported by Billabong, Red Bull and Surfing SA, will finish on Saturday.