Block­bust­ing loose for­ward Nizaam Carr is storm­ing along on all fronts of his life

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - GARETH DUN­CAN

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

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