FNB CPUT head coach Alastair Theys says they welcome change and are embracing the new cycle of the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition.
“When I took the job a few seasons ago, we had two boxes that we wanted to tick. The first one was to gain promotion and subsequently compete in the [Western Province] Super League A competition. We believe this league is key to checking off our next box which is to gain promotion to the [FNB Varsity] Cup competition.”
The Bellville-based side joined Varsity Shield in 2017 and has arguably been the most successful side since, playing in four finals and winning in 2019 and 2021.
“We had a recruitment drive the past couple of months because the majority of the players left the university. We only have about 12 guys remaining from last year's squad which means we have a relatively young squad,” says Theys.
“We face another challenging aspect of university sports; we do not offer sporting bursaries like our fellow Western Cape university counterparts. The top crop players tend to go to the three bigger universities.”
Despite these challenges, Theys believes his management staff have created and developed a healthy culture and environment that promotes inclusivity.
“The past few seasons have been a rollercoaster, it has been challenging, but luckily for us, we have formulated a good environment which has helped us reach four finals and bodes well for consistency.”
Theys feels confident in his squad and values the backing from the university.
“Knowing the university is backing you gives you that added boost. I am talking about senior management, students, the sports department, and the SRC [Student Representative Council]. [This] gives the players a sense of pride and a sense of belonging.
"It is a very interesting year for us, a young squad competing, a new road but on the same journey, which hopefully will take us where we want to be in the next few years.”
PROVISIONAL SQUAD LIST (subject to change)
Emihle Akho Benya, Kieran Delaan Naidoo, Milokuhle Ntusikazi, Athi Sali, Preveen Rahul Padiachiey, Ntsako Ashley Mhlanga, Keanan Benjamin Odwa Rolosi, Lathitha Sange Ratsibe, Xolani Brendon Ximba, Oyintando Honour Maseti, Wiehan Kruger, Keewan Titus, Timothy Matthew Shortles, Iwaan Bloys, Linton Shawn Maritz, Keenan Williams, Jayric Jaden Steenkamp, Samukelisiwe Sandile Madonsela, Lungelo Lethukuthula Kubheka, Duke Somila Shasha, Lindisipho Lihle Kula, Lwando Woji, Ayabulela Zono, Danielle Israel Padiachy, Nkosephayo Sbusiso Ngema, Keene Munnick, Stephan Lorenzo Jansen, Clyde Nicyle Frieslaar, Emihle Thina Jaxa, Stephanus Marthunus Andrews, Shadwill Chad Engelbrecht, Armondo Hoogbaard, Jason January, Jesse-Owen Denation, Keran Jayson Valentyn, Yaseen Arends, Sipho Hobosch, Yolisa Kasi.
by Lyndon Julies