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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Western Cape Zingisa Ndiki "..My next best sport is Gym"
Sunday, 19 July 2009 02:00

Zingisa Ndiki "..My next best sport is Gym"

 

“There is a spell upon this hill and heath; one never tires of it and it never comes twice upon one in the same aspect.”  - Sir John Herschel upon seeing W ynberg Hill, the location of Wynberg Boys' High.Indeed it has been a while since we have been spellbound by the quality of rugby produced by the boys from Lovers' Walk.


Year in and year out, rugby lovers in the Cape have expected much from Wynberg Boys', the respected school perched beautifully atop its hill, majestically looking over all of Cape Town. Yet unfortunately disappointing rugby results have become the norm around these parts in recent times. 

 

 

It seems like just yesterday that I was standing in front of the imperious War Memorial Gates at the entrance to the school on a cold summer morning, dressed in my khaki shorts and socks, trying desperately to remember what the plaque at the entrance says in case the prefects decided to spring a surprise test on us. Returning through the gates seems somewhat surreal, though I will admit that I am much the wiser now than I was then. At least this time I'm not rushing to get to class.

Thinking back, its incredible to think of the legends that have walked through those iron gates. Names such as Doug Hopwood, Lionel Wilson, Dave Stewart, Allan Lamb, Jacques Kallis. One immediately gets the feeling that this is not a school to be messed with, with a comprehensive list of Springboks and representatives in almost any sport in which South Africa competes.I have been informed however of another potential name to add to that list. A young man causing shockwaves around schoolboy rugby fields in South Africa. I have been told that if you are walking through Lovers' Walk on a Saturday you will hear a distant rumble. As you get closer to examine, that rumble will turn into a roar. Take a seat amongst the throng of spectators and the roar will blow you away as a beast blitzes his way through a seemingly impenetrable wall of defenders to dive over for another glorious try!

At long last! It seems that the older brother of most South African schools, the second oldest school in the country, has awoken from its slumber, ready to run rings around their opponents with a breathtaking attacking brand of rugby, the brainchild of coaches Gerry Potshumus and Gus Leslie. And the young man at the forefront of this renaissance? An incredible winger, the beast of the Cape, scourge of all the top Cape rugby schools and darling of Wynberg, none other than Zingisa Ndiki.

Built like a brick house and with a step to boot, Zingisa is a throwback to a time when rugby players ate biltong at half time and fancy hairstyles and flashy boots were scoffed at. A hard rugby man through and through he slots in perfectly in the Wynberg 1st XV. Yet it all had such humble beginnings.

“I come from Khayelitsha (a township on the outskirts of Cape Town) and my mom and my sister are both teachers. My mother knew the value of a good education. That is how I landed up at Wynberg Boys Junior.” Thank goodness for that Mrs. Ndiki or we might never have had the pleasure of witnessing  your son's brilliant talent.

“I started playing rugby in Grade 2 at Wynberg. It was always rugby. I wasn't interested in any other sports. Today my favourite other sport is gym!” I will definitely vouch for that. In fact I think every player who has had the unfortunate task of marking Zingisa in a game will know about his favourite “other sport”.

“My favourite rugby player is Jonah Lomu. I loved his physicality on the field and thats the way I try to play. I also like Jean de Villiers for his style and incredible skill.” When the decision came to choose a high school, it was only natural that Wynberg was the first choice, and Zingisa moved into Littlewood House as a weekly boarder.

“Its easier to be in Littlewood. Things were tougher in Junior School. I had to travel by public transport every day to get to school. Staying in Littlewood means I can go to gym here at school in my own time and I have plenty of chaps to practise my rugby with. It is very strict and I do feel homesick now and then, but its also a lot of fun.”

 

The discipline of a boarding environment has  clearly rubbed off on Zingisa as his success has not come without incredibly hard work.“My typical week would be gym every morning and practises every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At night I'll do a few push-ups and sit-ups, nothing too hectic.”

Its this type of hard work and discipline that has paid dividends with selection for the WP U16 team and, more recently, the WP U18 Academy team, narrowly missing out on Craven Week selection. Selection of the WP Craven Week side is a contentious issue here in the Cape, with many Cape Town schools accusing selectors of biased towards the traditional Boland powerhouse rugby schools.

“I was really disappointed about not making the Craven Week side last year, but I really enjoyed my time in the Academy side. It was great to be around players who have similar goals to you and who are just as serious about rugby. It makes you play even better.”

With players like Zingisa, it was no surprise that the WP Academy team swept the board at the Academy Week beating the likes of the Valke, Sharks Academy and Cheetahs, proving once and for all that the future of Western Province is, for now, firmly secure. Attending a school like Wynberg affords opportunities to play rugby against some of the other top schools in the country. Wynberg's annual traditional rivals have always been Rondebosch, Bishops, SACS (the most of all) and powerhouse Eastern Cape school Grey High from Port Elizabeth.

“Last year's Grey match in Port Elizabeth was the toughest game I ever played in my life. They were incredible in all they did; attack, defence everything. I was dead after that game. Last year's season was a roller-coaster. It started off really promising and then we lost our way completely. It was very disappointing.”

This, unfortunately, has become the norm for Wynberg teams over the recent past. The disappointment of average seasons of Wynberg rugby has made Zingisa a shining light through the doldrums, exciting the ever watchful eyes of schoolboy scouts. 'If you can't beat them join them,' goes the old saying. At some rival schools though the saying could well be changed to 'If you can't beat him, buy him,' and a player of Zingisa's calibre has naturally been head hunted by rival schools before.

“When I was at U16 level and I got chosen to play for WP, my coach came to tell me that he got a phone call from a sports master at a fellow rival school, saying that they were willing to offer me a scholarship. I laughed because all my friends are here at Wynberg, my heart is a part of this place and I didn't want to leave.”

However head hunting of a different kind is what Zingisa is most interested in. He has his goals for rugby set high and is already placing the foundations for them.“My aim by the end of the season is to land a provincial contract with a big team. I am also really keen on studying and playing rugby so I won't ignore an offer to play for a big Varsity team like say in the Varsity Cup. I'm definitely keeping my options open but my main aim is to land a contract with a big provincial franchise.”

Such words may not be all talk. Walking around the fields at Lovers' Walk on a Saturday afternoon and mentioning the name Zingisa Ndiki incites incredible excitement in the Wynberg faithful as well as the neutral rugby lovers, and it is easy to see why. He has all the attributes needed to become a professional athlete; determination, work ethic and self discipline. With the fabulous coaching support structure of Gerry Posthumus and Gus Leslie, Zigisa has the world at his feet.“Luckily I have Gerry and Gus, my coaches, constantly supporting me. They helped me get over the disappointment of not playing Craven Week. They are the ones who made me believe I could achieve great things in rugby. With their help I'm hoping to make the Craven Week side this year .”

Gerry Posthumus and Gus Leslie are the men at the helm of one of the most talked about Wynberg teams of recent times. Their exciting attack orientated style of play is a change from the traditional hard forward play of Wynberg teams of yesteryear. Maybe that's exactly what was needed, a complete revolution in playing style at Wynberg, clearly highlighted in one of the Cape's finest schoolboy games at Lover’s Walk on the 23rd May when Wynberg beat a fantastic Bishops team 21 – 17. Boy oh boy is Zingisa perfectly suited to Wynberg's new style and swagger.

It has been often said that rugby is a 15-man game. Although Zingisa's talent is exceptional the Wynberg 1st XV has plenty of exceptional players themselves who assist in producing clean ball for Zingisa to deal his punishment out with.

“I can't do what I do without my team. We have such an amazing team this year. Guys like Ezra Williams who is only U16 but is already playing 1st XV, and is looking sharp man, very sharp! Russel Steyn is playing great rugby at lock and Craig Munro is a fantastic fullback.” Other key influences on his career thus far have been UCT Ikeys 1st XV and WP Vodacom Cup winger Marcello Sampson (Wynberg) and fellow WP Vodacom Cup wing Terry Jacobs (Wynberg and Paarl Boys).

“Marcello and Terry are good friends. I always chill with them and watch rugby. They always really keen to give me valuable advice, since they are wings themselves, and I listen to them really carefully. They're both playing great rugby at the moment for top sides.”

It seems that those cold, summer mornings paid off for me. I never forgot what that plaque said. In fact I don't think I ever will. For those words have shaped my life and every Wynberg boy who has ever read them, even without them realising it.

MEN OF WYNBERG

Enter these gate with humility.

Aware of the priviliges and responsibilites

which this school bestows upon you.

Determined to avail yourselves of the opportunities on offer,

so that you, too, in time may enhance its reputation.

 

Such powerful words for such young minds to comprehend. Yet every now and then someone comes along and seems to understand the profoundness of those words perfectly without even realising it, through extraordinary sporting, academic or cultural achievement. Maybe its the reason why the list of Great Wynbergians is so exceptional, and the reason why Zingisa Ndiki is primed and ready to become the next name on that list.

In the words of the man himself, “The talent is a gift from God.” I couldn't have put it better myself.

 

 

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