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Monday, 28 November 2022

Student selected for Junior Boks

THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS: Junior Springboks player, Anelisa Ndamase believes she will be a role model to the other rugby players Student selected for Junior Boks. THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS: Junior Springboks player, Anelisa Ndamase believes she will be a role model to the other rugby players Student selected for Junior Boks.

Anelisa Ndamase says she has no words to describe her emotions when she was informed that she had been selected for the Junior Springboks.

“When I saw a squad of 26 players, I couldn’t believe that my name was part of those 26 players selected for Springbok Juniors,” says a joyful Anelisa.

The 19-year-old Human Resources Management second-year student is originally from Ntlaza, Libode, a small village in the Eastern Cape, but she grew up in Khayelitsha, Cape Town where her rugby skills were polished from the age of 12.

However, her rugby journey didn’t start well. When she started playing it wasn’t easy because she was the only girl in her team training with her male schoolmates. “I consistently fell in love with rugby, I think it was because my uncles also played rugby in their days, so I think it was something that runs in the family and still does.”

She adds: “It wasn’t easy trying to fit in during practise time because I was the only girl and the coach wanted me to give up, but I didn’t. Instead, I took the pain as a strength to push for more, I didn’t allow the boys to get to me. Only when I am at home, I would cry because of the hard things I had done making sure that I compete with those boys in order for them to know that also girls can play rugby.”

Her challenges were made worse “because also my mother didn’t support me at that time… She even thought that she was going to lose me because of how the sport is being displayed”.

One day at training her coach, Simnikiwe Ngunda, told her he could see the love, the passion, and attitude she had towards rugby, and that she was giving her best and he loved that about her, and that one day she would play for Western Province, then play for the Springboks and “he even told me that, ever since he started coaching girls, I am the first girl that didn’t give him hard time when he was training me then he just left me”.

Anelisa managed to recruit other girls from her school to form a team. In 2016 she a joined a club called Dolphins RFC and her rugby career really took shape. In 2017 Anelisa was selected to the Western Province Under 16 Women's Youth Training Centre (YTC). Unfortunately, she couldn’t play the tournament because she was still a minor. In 2018 she made the team again and was the under 16s vice-captain for National Week tournament that was held at JEPPE High School for Boys.

In 2019 she also made the team, and she was the under16s captain for the National Week tournament that was held at JEPPE High School for Boys. At the end of the tournament Anelisa was awarded as the best captain throughout the national week girl’s tournament. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the Under 20 Springbok team because I was still young, but coach Lauren said to me, ‘I believe in you, you are still young but keep on fighting I know you will make the team’. Up to this day I still keep her words and believed what coach Simnikiwe once told me about playing for Springboks.”

The person who Anelisa always look up from is Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Springbok women’s rugby player, “because she also started playing rugby at almost the same age as mine, which makes me believe that she also had go through the challenges I have also faced”.

“I will be a role model to the other rugby players, I will be empowering them, giving them hope, I will be bringing skills and sharing my experience with them and also make them understand the meaning of not giving up in their dreams.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce