Sportsman of the Year - a player of many talents

2016-05-25 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Carter High’s Ntsika Mjoli is a star performer in rugby, hockey and football, and has earned provincial colours in hockey and football.

PHOTO: supplied Carter High’s Ntsika Mjoli is a star performer in rugby, hockey and football, and has earned provincial colours in hockey and football.

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CARTER High’s reigning Sportsman of the Year Ntsika Mjoli is small of stature, but big on performance and extremely versatile - excelling in hockey, football and Sevens rugby.

Dedication, he said, is key to his success.

“It’s all dedication. Sometimes the sports clash, but I manage. At times, I have to practise hockey at the same time there is rugby and soccer, and I have to study too. I just dedicate myself.

“Given a chance to practise, I make sure I practise well and put in hard work. Given the chance to study, I have to study.”

It does, of course, require the teachers at Carter to accommodate Ntsika and they help him make it all work.

Somewhat surprisingly, he admitted to not particularly enjoying captaincy on the field, but his performances make him a leader nonetheless.

Ntsika’s love for sport began when he was at Ixopo Primary School, which is where he was first selected for KZN Inland hockey, making the U12 provincial team.

His success, he said, was “all about the support of my parents”.

Hockey is his first love and remains his greatest passion, Ntsika added.

It was only in Grade 7 that he began playing football, and in Grade 9 he began rugby. Whatever he turned his hand to he excelled in that sport.

While he plays left link in hockey, his position in football is quite different - left-back. Ntsika explained that when he arrived at Carter in Grade 9, he wanted to play for the first XI football team, but because there was lots of competition at left-wing (where he had previously played), he decided to instead try out at left-back. Soon he had adapted to the position and was excelling.

Ntsika has represented KZN Inland in hockey at U12, U14, U16 and U18B level. In football, he won KZN colours for two years in succession in the U14 ranks, then followed that up with selection for the provincial team at U15 and U16 level. Trials for the KZN U18 football team will be held later in the year.

His skill in Sevens rugby was also recognised during the KFC Voortrekker Night Series, which led to him being invited to be part of an U19 Invitational Sevens Rugby Tour to Dubai.

His hero in rugby, he said, is Quade Cooper. It’s all about the stepping and passing skills, Ntsika said.

Real Madrid left-back Marcelo is his favourite footballer. His favourite hockey player was a little less clear.

The player’s name is Brian, he thought, but he had watched him on YouTube and enjoyed his game.

Ntsika has applied for scholarships to college in the U.S., through rugby and football.

“Hockey is not ideal [for getting a scholarship],” he admitted. He has also applied to the University of Pretoria and the University of the Witwaters­rand, with Tuks and their renowned sporting set-up his number one choice.


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