Blockbusting loose forward Nizaam Carr is storming along on all fronts of his life
STORMERS loose forward Nizaam Carr says he’s enjoying the balance between his rugby career, religion, marriage and giving back to his community.
Although he’s the only Muslim player at the Stormers, Carr doesn’t feel like an outsider at the franchise. The coaches and players have embraced the diversity within the squad, with everyone showing interest in team-mates’ cultures and religions.
Team-building excursions are planned to allow each player to introduce his peers to their background or cultural activities.
During June and July, Muslims celebrated the holy month of Ramadaan, which marked a special religious period for Carr. On the field, Carr has shown great improvement in form during Super Rugby this season. He’s been working hard behind the scenes and hopes to continue his recent rise.
“I’m quite happy with the way the season has gone so far. I’m enjoying my consistency and I want to build on that. I feel there have been many improvements in my game compared to last year,” said Carr.
“It helps when you have a coach who believes in you. Stormers coach Robbie Fleck offers amazing support and always backs me, which helps a lot. I want to continue doing well for the Stormers and hope to play my way back into the Springbok squad in the near future. I know it won’t be easy, but all hard work gets rewarded.”
Carr said there’s a special combination between himself and the other loose forwards, Siya Kolisi, Schalk Burger and Sikhumbuzo Notshe. “We’re a close bunch of players, especially among the loosies,” said Carr.
“Siya and Schalk are strong ball carriers, while Notshe and I like to hit the gaps to build attacking momentum with ball in hand. Schalk also brings a lot of experience to the team and his leadership adds so much value. We all get along very well and motivate each other.”
While the Stormers will be focused on their Super Rugby goals, Carr is also building a legacy in his community off the field.
He’s opened a sports academy named the Cape Sports Academy in Athlone, which helps the youth in his home suburb use sport as a vehicle for motivation and opportunity.
“Sport is big in my community. The people in my community are very passionate, whether you’re playing or just supporting.
“Sport played a big role in my life as I got to compete in rugby, soccer, volleyball, cricket and athletics and those experiences added a lot of value to my upbringing.
“I want to offer my people the same experiences.
“However, I want the youth to understand that sport is there for the enjoyment.
“It also plays a big mentorship role during one’s upbringing and development, especially at a young age.
“It’s not all about winning, which creates pressure. It’s about learning important lessons and adapting those lessons to your life.
“I also want to create opportunities for talented kids who don’t have a direct pathway to a professional sports career.
“We currently have 35 young kids involved in the academy this year. Last year, we had 25, so there is growth. My main aim is to make a positive impact in their lives.
“If one kid could go on and achieve a professional career, then that would be a dream come true.” – ANA