Coach Car­los to re­di­rect Rhodes Rugby

Grocott's Mail - - SPORT - By AN­IMA MCBROWN

As Rhodes Univer­sity Rugby Club bids coach Qon­dakele Som­pondo a hearty farewell, they wel­come Coach Qon­dani ‘Car­los’ Katywa to their rugby sta­ble. The 31-year-old Port El­iz­a­beth-born Katywa has coached at the Univer­sity of Fort Hare (UFH), and has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence both as a player and a man­ager. He re­cently com­pleted his Hon­ours in B. Ap­plied (Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Man­age­ment) at UFH.

Katywa is no stranger to the Gra­ham­stown com­mu­nity. He went to school at Graeme Col­lege. He thinks fondly of his com­pet­i­tive rugby days, re­mem­ber­ing how he idolised Rhodes rugby back then. It has al­ways been a dream to be part of the Rhodes first team squad. He now gets the chance to lead the club in a dif­fer­ent way as the new head coach.

“Sport has al­ways been a ma­jor part of my life,” says Katywa. He played at the Craven Week rugby tour­na­ment, and the Sharks Academy in Dur­ban in his ear­lier play­ing days. He de­scribes his re­turn to Gra­ham­stown as tak­ing the next step in his coach­ing ca­reer, “a dream come true”.

Katywa wants to build on the foun­da­tions laid by his pre­de­ces­sor. He has al­ready set up a work­ing ‘blue­print’ to take the Rhodes Rugby Club for­ward, and fur­ther. “I want to es­tab­lish a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion; I will be re-rout­ing Rhodes rugby” he says. At the core of this re-rout­ing process will be an all-im­por­tant preser­va­tion of Rhodes rugby’s univer­sity sta­tus at Var­sity Shield level.

Katywa wants to re-in­ject the prin­ci­ples, morale and in­tegrity that have been lost along the way, as the rugby team ex­pe­ri­enced an ex­tremely tough sea­son this year. “I want to pro­fes­sion­alise the team, and bring about an all­round el­e­va­tion of team spirit and work ethic,” says Katywa.

Coach ‘Car­los’ – a nick­name he coined in his play­ing days, af­ter the great New Zealand rugby player Car­los Spencer – looks for­ward to har­ness­ing a fam­ily style code of sup­port for the rugby squad. He wants to see Rhodes rugby em­brac­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion and con­tri­bu­tions from lo­cal schools and the com­mu­nity at large. “The club should rep­re­sent a Gra­ham­stown team, not just a univer­sity squad.” Katywa is pas­sion­ate about cen­tral­is­ing out­reach pro­grammes. He will en­sure that Rhodes rugby is do­ing its part for, with and in the greater Gra­ham­stown com­mu­nity. A grass­roots ap­proach will in­cor­po­rate dif­fer­ent in­volve­ments and ini­tia­tives so that the city as a whole can ben­e­fit.

Katywa ac­knowl­edges that there will be chal­lenges. “There are a lot of changes ahead and we have a few prob­lems to fix but I am big on pos­i­tiv­ity,” he com­ments. He be­lieves that dur­ing his ten­ure, he can help take Rhodes rugby to the high­est level pos­si­ble. Ul­ti­mately, his three­year goal is to take Rhodes to the Var­sity Cup. The progress will not hap­pen overnight but Katywa is adamant that big­ger, bet­ter achieve­ments lie ahead.

Photo: Stephen Kis­bey-Green

Dream Team are awarded the Rhodes In­ter­nal League tro­phy at the end of a long and tough sea­son.

Photo: Supplied

Coach Qon­dani ‘Car­los’ Katywa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.