By Tauhierah Salie
Over 100 local touch rugby players will put their best foot forward as they represent South Africa in the Federation of the International Youth World Cup 2018, which kicks off in Malaysia on 8th August. The first part of the capping ceremony for the National South African Touch Rugby teams to participate took place on Wednesday evening. The 6 teams, their parents and their coaches, gathered at the Red and Yellow College on the corner of Durham Avenue and Salt River Main Road, in Cape Town, where they were celebrated and briefed on the procedure for going abroad.
“We are here to show how much we appreciate players, their talent, the achievements they’ve made and the privilege of playing for the South African National team. On Friday we’re leaving so early parents won’t have the opportunity to see them, so this is great way to show our appreciation,” said Thabo Mosumi, the coach for the ladies U20 team.
This year sees South Africa sending a full contingent to Malaysia, filling every division of girls and boys under 18, Under20 and mixed. Teams will be up against the host nation Malaysia and the world’s best from Australia and New Zealand among others. Apart from South Africa, the countries that are competing are: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United States.
The atmosphere at the event was jovial but had an intensity to it that could only come from determined players. Many of the coaches reminded their teams that although they’ve worked very hard, but the hardest task lies ahead. Players however are excited and ready to take on the challenge.
“We as a team will be better than we expect because we come from different regions and gel quite well together. This is the experience of a lifetime so I’m looking forward (to) meeting new people, seeing new traditions and just enjoying it!” said Gamielah Josephs of the girls U20 Mixed team.
Under 20s Women’s captain Tyler Jobert said she wants the teams to do their best.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing international touch and seeing how other countries play. Play the best that we can as a team and whatever happens after that is out of our control- but if we play the best that we can then we will get the result we deserve,” says Joubert.
This year will see 116 players from the 6 different teams compete as they battle it out to see who is the world’s best. Although the players focus on being strong individually, many acknowledge that it is a team sport.
Nadeemah Levy, logistics manager and manager of the girls’ U18 team said their expectations are to make the country proud.
“We hope to achieve our goals as individuals and as players. The goal is to have ambassadors for the country, to make sure that when people see us they see we are (representing) our country with pride. A lot of kids come from poor backgrounds and they –along with their parents- have worked exceptionally hard. So to see them compete is fantastic.”
The teams will depart from Cape Town International Airport on Friday, 3 of August, where they will go to Dubai and then to Malaysia. Their first match will be on the 8th August and teams are expected back in Cape Town on the 13th. VOC