After a narrow loss in the final last year, the Madibaz A cricket team are keen to make amends in the University Sport South Africa tournament in the Western Cape next week.
The annual competition takes place in Stellenbosch from December 3 to 7 and Nelson Mandela University will be fielding two teams, with the A side in pool A (the top eight teams) and the B side in pool B.
Madibaz A lost by six runs to Pretoria University in last year’s final and captain David Masterson said they had a point to prove this time.
“Madibaz have had a lot of success at USSA in past years and we are definitely aiming for the title. The ambition among the players will not allow us to settle for anything less.”
He added, though, that they knew it would not be wise to look too far ahead.
“We do not want to get carried away and so our focus at this stage is purely on our first game against UCT.”
The skipper identified allrounder Tian Koekemoer as one of the players who could be the key to their success.
“He is one of four semi-pro cricketers in the squad and I am sure they will be challenging themselves to take responsibility and perform.
“Tian has been in excellent form for EP and will definitely play a major role with the bat and ball for us.”
The Madibaz B team, consisting of predominantly players from the George campus, will have a number of new faces in their ranks and want to show an improvement on their seventh-place finish in 2017.
“This time we are aiming for the semifinals,” said George campus sport manager Hugo Loubser.
The George team will be missing star batsman and captain Jean du Plessis, who has provincial commitments, but Loubser believes there are a number of positives they can take into the week.
“Although there have been many changes – there are only two players left from last year – I believe there is a great deal of potential in the squad,” he said.
He added that the large number of allrounders in the side provided the coach and captain with plenty of options, “especially later in the week when the pitches start to wear”.