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Itembelihle: Township revolution

Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:36
Danie-gerber-with-school-ki Item_schools2012-640x400
This will revolutionise township rugby at grassroots level
Quote-end

Itembelihle Comprehensive School of Zwide Township in Port Elizabeth finished the year with 11 wins out of 14 games and are set to change the face of Township rugby in 2013.

This is thanks to the enthusiasm of Theo {Pieterse who has taught history and coached rugby at the school for more than 30 years.. He tells of the dream for the future

Itembelihle's greatest achievements was their clean sweep at the annual KwaZulu Natal Under-17 Rugby Festival.

They will enter 2013 fielding up to 12 teams in the local league, a first for township schoolboy rugby!

This will revolutionise township rugby at grassroots level and lead to the unprecedented development of many township players allowing boys who, up to now,  play only about five games a year to play rugby at the top level, every weekend!

This will indeed be a model for other big companies to follow  in South Africa to develop the talent in the township and rural areas.

This concept comes after Itembelihle won the School Team of the Year award at the annual South African Sports Awards for continuously producing outstanding results with very limited resources! Thanks must go to Spur for staying with the side since 2006, sponsoring them with tracksuits, full rugby playing kit, burgers and drinks on rugby weekends, an annual donation of R10 000 to acquire talented players from outlying areas, sending them to the annual KwaZulu Natal development tournaments in the KwaZulu Natal area and now sponsoring them to attend the Glenwood festival in 2013!

Thanks must also go to Standard Bank, where old boy Lincoln Mali (regional manager) obtained for Itembelihle a sponsorship of R20 000 plus warm-up t-shirts and track tops.

Ewan Kromhout, from Supplements SA, also needs mention, as his company has supplied us with supplements for every game since 2003 as well as supplements for individual boys to gain weight and muscles. He has also assisted us by paying the rent for the house we rented for the Transkei boys and supplied them with their monthly groceries!

Danie Gerber and the Pennyfarthing Construction Company must also be thanked for their assistance to the school. They supply the boys with rugby balls, mowed our field for us, and assisted with payment for transport when we played out of town, helped with food for the players and donated the meat and prizes for our annual prize giving!

Stewarts and Lloyds of Port Elizabeth must also be thanked for their donation of kit and sponsorship money for the schools rugby. After appearing on the Morning Live Show on Algoa FM, with Daron Mann, Vodacom donated R5 000 and Martin Nefdt, from Puma, and Marius Weyers did the rest to assure that 25 boys received boots to play with.

SARU will also supply he school with a gym, run by Virgin Active.

Grey High also needs to be thanked for inviting us to their annual festivals and supplying the boys with unused boots and other kit!

Absa and the Investec Rugby Academy also need to be thanked for sponsoring me to attend their coaches course in early December in Durban.

Each and every one of these sponsors must be thanked, for without their help rugby in the townships would have been confined to four or five games a year and a gold mine of talent would have been lost forever!

André Rademan, from the Crusaders rugby club, approached us, offering the school a partnership for 2013 and a sponsorship from Caltex Eastern Cape Marketers. This will assist greatly in getting the township boys playing rugby. Caltex will assist with supplying the schools with transport to and from games, maintaining our field and change rooms. All our home games will be played at the historic Crusaders ground (St George's Park) with the first team playing the main curtainraiser for the Crusader first team. The club will assist with boarding for players from the rural areas as well as transporting them to school every day. The players will be able to play for the Crusaders Under-20 team after school, then the first team, the Kings and then for the Springboks!

The first team will be known as the Spur team and the second team will be called the Caltex Development XV, comprising the best players from the rest of the township.

Other schools to benefit from the partnership are, Cowan High, Newell, Tamsanqa, Mzontsundu, Stephen Mazungula, Sophakama and Thubelihle High. We are looking forward to a great 2013, taking on the top schools at the Glenwood festival and the top three in the Eastern Cape - Daniël Pienaar, Die Brandwag and Grey High!

By Theo Pieterse

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