Staff Writer    Images: Facebook

Western Cape rugby fans will have to wait a little longer to get any chance of realizing their aspiration to see all four universities competing in the Varsity Cup – South Africa’s premier university rugby competition.

This comes after the Varsity Cup announced on Friday that no team will be promoted from the Varsity Shield to the Varsity Cup at the end of the 2022 season, which is set to kick-off in the next few weeks. Instead, two teams will be relegated from the Cup and one team will be chopped from the Shield at the end of the current two-year cycle based on the combined 2021-2022 logs. From the 2023 season, there will be eight teams in the Cup and eight in the Shield, Varsity Cup said in a statement.

This may be bad news for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) who have been in fine form, winning both the 2019 and 2021 Varsity Shield titles. Both the Cup and Shield were suspended midway through the 2020 season due to Covid-19.

As things stand, the Cup has 10 teams with Cape’s Maties of Stellenbosch University, Ikeys Tigers of the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape among them. CPUT is the only Cape representative in the seven-team Shield.

Can CPUT maintain their dominance of the Shield and earn promotion to the Cup next season? Also, can all three WC varsities in the Cup keep their status and avoid the chop? That is a wish of many Cape rugby fans for all four varsities to play in the top league. But, as they say, time will tell.

Meanwhile, the Cup will return to the campuses around the country for the first time since the 2020 season, with each participant playing home and away matches and a limited number of fans allowed into the stadiums to cheer up their teams. Shield matches will be staged at a single venue each match day from Rounds 1-6, with the home teams hosting games in Round 7.

“The South African sporting community has endured a tough time over the past two years, so it’s great to see the FNB Varsity Cup returning to the participating universities across the nation,” said Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi, Varsity Cup Tournament Manager. “We’re particularly excited to have the fans back in the stadiums.

“We’re expecting a fiercely competitive tournament. Two teams will be relegated to the FNB Varsity Shield at the end of the 2022 season, so there is certainly a lot on the line. The FNB Varsity Cup has always prioritized innovation, pushing the boundaries and changing the lives of those who form part of the community,’ Nesi continued. 

The Varsity Cup tournament kicks off on 14 February and the Shield matches are set to commence on 4 March.

 Putting the spotlight on mental health 

This season, the FNB Varsity Cup’s Pink Shorts campaign will aim to raise awareness around mental health.

“A key narrative of the 15th edition of the FNB Varsity Cup is the mental health of the student athletes,” Nesi said. “Following a disruptive two-year period due to the pandemic, students have been forced to study remotely. It has taken a toll. We aim to raise awareness and acknowledge the challenges that these rugby players face on a daily basis.” 

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The postponement of the Sasol League National Playoffs this week has shot down the spirit in the CR Vasco da Gama team and severely disrupted their December holiday plans as they strive to remain focused.

As a result, the team is planning to continue with their training sessions throughout the festive season to maintain their peak fitness levels to remain ready and in the best  shape whenever the competitions resumes.

On Sunday the South African Football Association (SAFA) and sponsors Sasol announced that the event has been adjourned until further notice in the wake of rising covid-19 cases across the country. The national play-offs, pitting all nine provincial champions, were scheduled to take place in Durban this week to determine the two teams that will be promoted to the Hollywoodbets Super League next season.

‘’The Omicron variant cases are on the rise and, as the Association, we prioritize the health of our athletes and other stakeholders. This is something we cannot afford to risk, hence the decision to postpone the games,’’ said SAFA chief medical officer, Dr Thulani Ngwenya, in a statement.

He said SAFA and Sasol will find a suitable date for the playoffs when the variant is under control. ‘’Our decision on when to resume the playoffs will be dictated by a conducive environment and when the variant is under control. As things stand, the situation does not allow us to continue with the games as we will be putting all those involved, including players, officials and those running the competition, at risk. As a responsible organisation we cannot do that,’’ said Dr Ngwenya.

Although the decision is understandable and accetable, it has threw a spanner in the works of Vasco, who are in top form, having won a gruelling Sasol League Western Cape title and a Coke Cup trophy this season. “The momentum of the team has dropped a bit because the excitement was there and we were still on a high,” noted Vasco captain Jamie Witbooi.

“The postponement of the playoffs has slightly put the team off, but it gave us extra time to work on certain aspects where we were lacking. On the one hand it’s a good thing, on the other it’s a bad thing because we don’t know until when they have been postponed. It might be in January, when in January, we don’t know.”

Witbooi said another adverse side of the adjournment of the event was that the team will lack game time as they doubt if there is any team who will give them friendly games over this period. “The momentum is a bit down, but we are trying to focus on the role ahead to be successful and try to qualify for the Hollywoodbets Super League.”




13 December 2019 Author: Staff Writer

Cape Town woman football sensation Kelso Peskin has been signed by Toulouse Football Club, aka Toulouse FC Féminines, in France to become at least the seventh local woman footballer to join an overseas team in the past five months.

Peskin, who was instrumental in Vasco Da Gama’s successful Sasol League Western Cape campaign this year, will link up with her new teammates in January 2020 until the end of the current season in June (with an option to be renewed). She had just returned to South Africa in December 2018 from the United States where she spent a total of four years in separate stints furthering both her academic and sporting careers.

“I’m excited to join Toulouse and hope to help them get back to winning ways,” Peskin told Cape at 6 Sport this week. “I’m also very nervous but it helps that I spent a week with the team in early November so at least I will know the girls when I get there”. 

Her move follows that of the Maties FC duo of Cassidy Arendse and Isabelle Bertossi who went to the United States in August, and the four rising RV United stars of Ember Edwards, Nwabisa Goba, Thina Ganto and Kuhle Madlokazi who went to the same country in September.

France is one of the leading countries in women football and Peskin said it was not difficult to accept the Toulouse offer. “And on my visit the coaching staff and players made me feel so welcomed and part of the team it was honestly really hard to say no”. 

What would she like to achieve in Europe?

“My objective is to help the team get back to winning ways, and grow as a player while helping others to grow, too. I want to be better than I am. There’s always room for improvement and I’m willing to learn and grow as an individual,” the Kaizer Chiefs supporter noted.  

Peskin, who has played for Banyana Banyana as well as Under 17 and Under 20 national teams, believes her move to Europe will take her football to a higher level. “It will teach me things that I may not have learnt over the years that I have been playing. I’m excited to learn and be a better player. It’s definitely a higher level of football in Europe so I’m excited to grow and be on that level. I’m excited to go on this new journey”. 

For her rise in football Peskin, who is also a big fan of Manchester United in the English Premier League, credited her dad, Nathan Peskin (pictured above), who was also her coach at Vasco this season and when she played for the University of the Western Cape in the past. “His work ethic and dedication is unbelievable. He has helped shaped me into the person and player I am today and I couldn’t thank him enough for all what he has done. He has always motivated me and pushed me – and himself – to be the best we can be.”

She has encouraged wannabe women footballers to “keep working hard and not give up just because things are hard or not going your way. We can all overcome challenges that God put in front of us. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Be your own motivator, put in the hard work and you will succeed in all that you do”.

Montana Vikings Basketball Club have demonstrated their dominance of the Cape Town Basketball Association (CTBA) leagues this season, winning at least seven of the 11 divisions on offer.

The Vikings took home both Super League titles in men and ladies divisions; were crowned as champions in the Under 18 girls and boys sections; won the Under 12 girls and boys leagues; and finished top of the Under 16 boys’ league.

In the last match of the season, the Vikings Super League side for men beat CPUT (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) Alumni Cats by 13 points (78-65) in a highly entertaining encounter at Gugulethu Sport Complex.

Vikings head coach for the men super league team, Craig Daniels, was delighted with his club’s victory, and said what worked for them was that their training programs were focused on individual skills and physical development. “Even though we had seven guys for this game, they were fit and were able to last the whole game. You could see that they were getting tired, but the work they put in during the course of the season helped us to get through today”.

Vikings will participate in a tournament in Johannesburg early next year “and need to show that we are better even outside the Cape Town borders”. 

Nathan Coetzee, Chairperson of the CTBA, congratulated all the winners and saluted all the participants – clubs, administrators, officials, coaches and players –  for making 2019 a memorable season in the local basketball. He said the season was very challenging, with few resignations from the executive last year, but everything went according to plan. 

“We played more games this year than any other season, and it was a huge success. We received quite a lot of support and, with the establishment of the Western Cape Basketball Association recently, we are very excited because now we have all the necessary structures to secure more funding and get government support”.

With a professional basketball league planned for Africa next year, Coetzee said he hoped that, with the right structures in place, a franchise would be established in Cape Town “because there is a lot of talent here.”

Staff Writer

29 October 2019

As 34 Local Football Association (LFA) champions in Cape Town battled it out for promotion to the much-sought after Third Division spots in the past two weekends, the two clubs that were promoted last year are yet to kick the ball in their new division.

Woodlands United FC from Mitchells Plain and Crystal Palace of Manenberg have only played Nedbank Cup and may only play their first league games this weekend because of a disjuncture between the LFA seasons and those of the upper leagues. LFAs – the lowest leagues in the country – play from March/April to September, while other leagues start in the third/fourth quarter of the year until May the following year.

This means a 12-months waiting period for Third Division League, formerly SAB League, new comers as opposed to the three months for clubs that have been promoted to the ABC Motsepe League, GladAfrica Championship (formerly First Division) and to the Premier Soccer League.

Is this good or bad?

As much as the disjuncture breaks the momentum, it gives the rookies enough time to prepare for life in the new divisions. And the fact that both current Third Division champions, Young Pirates, and runner’s up, Matroosfontein, were in their first season, indicates that this long wait may have given them the edge and is not a bad idea after all.

Woodlands and Palace agree.

Achmat Williams, chairman of Palace, said: “It is a good thing because when you are playing in the LFA you can use players of any age, but in the SAB League you have to start with at least five players under the ages of 21. So this gives you enough time to search for new recruits and develop younger players.”

His Woodlands counterpart, Brendan Fernendes, echoed his sentiments, and added: “In SAB League you need a lot of money. I think for registration alone you pay R25 000. And then you have your medicals, match fees, transport, etc. It’s a lot of money involved so this wait gives us time to get our house in order.”

The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department hosted 200 aspiring boxers at the annual Dunoon Recreation Hub Boxing Tournament today.

About 200 aspiring male and female boxers took to the ring today during the annual tournament which is aimed at grooming amateur boxers and preparing them on their journey to becoming professional, or simply encouraging them to enjoy participating in the sport.

The annual event is in its seventh year and has seen local contenders proudly represent South Africa at top sporting events. Many of them have returned to contribute to the Dunoon Recreation Hub boxing programme to coach the youth, and also serve as role models to the community.

The Dunoon Recreation Hub has partnered with the Inkwenkwezi Boxing Club since 2012 and this partnership has contributed significantly to the development of boxing in the Dunoon community.

“Boxing has become a popular sport in Dunoon, and we endeavor to develop talent for the future,” said Inkwenkwezi Boxing Club Chairperson, Andile Simolwana.

City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien said the boxing tournament is the flagship event of the Dunoon Recreation Hub where the City’s Recreation and Parks Department is committed to ensuring that as many young people as possible have access to sport codes and opportunities.

“The Dunoon boxing tournament is an important programme in our development structures, as sports is vital to the holistic development of young people and their physical, social and emotional health,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

The tournament, which is well supported by the community, brought together amateur boxers aged 11 to 40 from the community of Dunoon and surrounding areas who competed for the best spot in their respective weight classes.

‘This is an event where participants are given an opportunity to showcase what they have been taught, and to positively influence others to pursue healthy lifestyles through the sport of boxing,’ added Councillor Badroodien.

‘Boxing is a sport which provides many benefits. It’s a good way to work off stress, it’s a full-body workout and boxing improves hand-eye coordination, body strength and is good for cardiovascular health and burning calories. The value of participating in sports cannot be underestimated and it reinforces self-esteem and a positive attitude,’ said Councillor Badroodien.