The captain of the 2019 World Cup Rugby winners, Siya Kolisi, has illustrated that nothing is impossible. His former schoolmates at Msengeni Primary in Port Elizabeth are motivated by his rise to the top.
However, they understand that is a hard path to walk. Rugby practices at Msengeni Primary School are not fun for young players with an open field with dry grass, stones and no goal posts.
The talented players hope to get spotted, but talent scouts don’t often go to their school due to a lack of resources. The learners say Kolisi is their inspiration.
One leaners says: “I want to be like Siya and also go to Grey but most people don’t come to watch our matches. But they do hear Msengeni has good rugby players.”
“I wish we could get selectors that will actually recognise us. It is so hard to play rugby under these conditions,” adds another learner.
Kolisi has donated jerseys to the players at his old school, but they need so much more. Coach Nomathamsanqa Magutywa Mthuti says they need a good facility and equipment.
“We are in desperate need for anyone to assist, because as you can see the field is not in a good condition. We also sometimes miss big games, where these kids can be scouted by potential model C schools, because we don’t have transport.”
“Most of these kids come from poor families and can’t afford transport money so the kids miss out. We don’t have proper kits and selectors are less likely to even look at our school for potential players.”
Doors did not only open for Kolisi while he was playing for Msengeni Primary but a young man who was once a learner at Msengeni was spotted and doors to a better future opened.
Rugby player Athaphelele Ngwendu says he has also been fortunate.
“The transition to a model C school was not easy. I had to make new friends, learn how to speak their language and get used to how they do things. But I was so happy to be there, because there you get the best coaches, you are put on good diets, you get the best training and stand more chance to be chosen for provincial teams.”
Kolisi’s Junior School Soach, Eric Songwiqi, is the man who first spotted him and he played an important role in his move to Grey High School.
Songwiqi says talent alone cannot get one to the top.
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