31 July 2023

The Rugby team showcased their prowess at the USSA Rugby Tournament held at Durban Varsity College from 9 to 11 July 2023. Despite the challenges, they persevered and managed to secure a victory against Sol Plaatjies University.

"The boys put in a lot of effort in this tournament and played with injuries until the end. I am very proud of them," said Rugby Captain Mogau Baloyi, expressing admiration for his team's dedication. "I would like to thank the coach and the University for giving us this opportunity."

UMP's Rugby programme, established just last year and led by Coach Sisa Ngcwangu, has witnessed remarkable growth. The programme started with a 10s tournament, and since then, the team has shown steady progress, attracting more players to both the male and female teams.

Captain Baloyi shared their preparation for the USSA tournament, saying, "We started preparing for the USSA by playing a friendly game against Barberton Rugby Club. We then joined the Ehlanzeni Lowveld Region Premier League where we played four games and had to forfeit the rest due to exams. During these games, we saw male players improve. We then started our USSA's training camp for two weeks where we practiced in the morning and afternoon. During our USSA tournament, we had a team-building camp to bring us together and show us how to work as a team."

Between 3 and 7 July, the UMP Volleyball team displayed their skills and camaraderie at the USSA Volleyball Tournament held in Polokwane.

UMPUMP Women's Basketball team.

"The tournament was good for building relationships in sport; we got to see numerous opponents and how to better our own game," said the volleyball team captain, Boleng Mawela, reflecting on the positive experiences gained during the competition.

"Every year we attend USSA, we keep leaving our mark, and we continuously strive to improve upon it. The university officials took excellent care of us, ensuring we were always prepared to give our best on the field," stated Mawela.

He emphasized that the team's dedication was evident through countless training sessions each week. To further enhance their performance for the USSA, they strategically combined players from Siyabuswa and Mbombela through a rigorous selection process, forming a formidable team.

"We owe much of our preparation to the University, as they graciously allowed us to conduct a training camp before the USSA's. This opportunity was invaluable in refining our skills and strengthening our team spirit," Mawela added.

UMPUMP Male Basketball team.

Similarly, the UMP Basketball team, also known as the Pacers, took on the challenge at the USSA Basketball Tournament hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal from 4 to 10 July 2023. Felix Thwala, the team captain, plays the power forward position and was instrumental in leading the team's strategic moves on the court.

"Participating in USSAs was amazing as we got the opportunity to meet basketball players who have been playing longer than us and got the opportunity to learn new skills. We had a chance to see agencies who were recruiting basketball players which has motivated us to work harder and improve our skills," added Thwala, highlighting the valuable learning experiences gained from the tournament.

UMP Sports Clubs' participation in the USSA championships exemplified their dedication and passion for their respective sports, leaving a positive mark on the competitive platform. The University's unwavering support, regular training sessions, and focus on skill development have undoubtedly contributed to their success.

By Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.