Nyanga Bok’s light shines

2016-06-02 06:00
 As a school boy Notshe receiving an award for the Lagunya best junior player of the year 2012 from Titus Kepadisa, Sam Dube, and Louis Mzomba.

As a school boy Notshe receiving an award for the Lagunya best junior player of the year 2012 from Titus Kepadisa, Sam Dube, and Louis Mzomba.

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Sikhumbuzo Notshe, from Nyanga, has made the grade and has become the first fully fledged Springbok rugby player from the area.

Notshe is proudly following in the footsteps of Dinah Zweni, who became the first Lady Springbok from the club.

Notshe, a flanker for the Western Province and the Stormers, was one of the 31 players that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee announced on Saturday that will be in action against the Irish touring side.

Sikhumbuzo,22, started playing rugby in the u9 team at Nomlinganiselo Primary School in Nyanga. When he started playing, he was a centre and was coached at u13 level by Louis Mzomba, the first African referee of the South African Rugby Union at the same time that the late Carl Spannenberg made his referee debut on the international circuit. Speaking of his protege, Mzomba said: “I played with his father, Mandla, a prop, at Lagunya and in the Western Province Development Team from 1993 to 1995. Besides his father I was the other father figure in his life,”.

When Sikhumbuzo was still playing centre at the club, his speed and explosiveness was the club’s trump card.

“His huge body posture intimidated opponents because he walked all over them. He is the first male Springbok from the club, but we also have a Lady Springbok in Dinah Zweni. I was the first referee and Norman Mbiko coached the SA Sevens team of which Chester Williams was one of the players.

“We, as the Lagunya family are thrilled and honored to be associated with him not only at club level but also as a community. We all saw him grow up in the streets but also in our club. We were fortunate that he could play at school and club level with the same zest and commitment,” said Louis.

When Sikhumbuzo was selected for the WP u13 Craven Week team he was spotted by Allen Gerber, a scout for Wynberg Boys High and he completed his matric at the school.

“After the Craven Week, Allen phoned me and offerd Sikhumbuzo a scholarship at Wynberg Boys High and that is how we lost him. But I don’t regret sending him to Wynberg, he excelled not only on the rugby field but also academically.

For the club and him it was a win-win situation and see where he landed up, in the Springbok team,” Louis said.

Although Sikhumbuzo would like to be more involved in the club with the juniors, his professional schedule doesn’t allow him to do so. He often visits the school and encourage others to emulate him.

But what makes Sikhumbuzo tick, we asked Mzomba. Speed and power, he said, smiling. Sikhumbuzo was also a sprinter at school, he bullied his small u12 counterparts in the 100m and 200m. You can see that now on the pitch when he is playing for the Stormers and WP and we’ll see that when he pulls on the Green-and-Gold, said Louis.

“I think he gets his speed from his father Mandla, who was very fast for a prop. We always chuckled whenever we would run onto the field and the opponents would think he is playing in the backline. We really surprised the opponents when the first scrum was called and Mandla would take up his position and bullied them at the breakdown,” said Mzomba.

Mzomba said he could not emphasise the role played by Norman Mbiko enough.

“Norman played a huge role in the development of youth and Western Province in general. I remember when Sikhumbuzo’s group were 11 years old Norman took them through passing skills. Mbiko is like a Godfather in our club as he always guides us as players, coaches and administrators.

Mzomba said he and the club will always be indebted to everyone who contributed to Notshe’s development as a rugby player. The community of Nyanga are looking forward to see him running out for the Boks and we know that he will represent us well.

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