Following a difficult campaign last year, FNB UKZN is looking to bounce back in the 2024 FNB Varsity Shield competition.
The men from KwaZulu-Natal could only muster a single victory from their seven matches, leaving them second from the bottom on the log and just above the now-relegated FNB Rhodes.
Speaking to Varsity Shield, new head coach Naseeb Abrahams lifted the lid on some of the reasons behind the disappointing season last year and the preparations his team has made ahead of the upcoming season.
“Time was an issue. We didn’t have the time we desired and enough prep under our belt in the lead-up to the competition last year, especially since a number of our more experienced players had left the team. So we were probably behind from the beginning.
“We’ve really worked hard on the strength and conditioning of the team this year which was one of the areas where we felt we were behind in last year. There have been massive improvements all-round from the team.”
Abrahams acknowledges the Impis will be forced to come back stronger if they plan to make it out of the round-robin stages this year.
“Our biggest change is that we have put a major focus on restoring the culture of the Impis, our values, and what we stand for as a team. This is going to be one of the toughest Varsity Shield campaigns in a long time but we are proud of what we are going to be bringing on this season. We are excited for what lies ahead.”
UKZN’s first match is against FNB WSU at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Thursday 22 February.
PROVISIONAL SQUAD LIST (subject to change)
Uli Walker, Ben Maseko, Mumbo Nzama, Merlyn Bishop, Thabiso Ncube, Mbongeni Geco, Tarriq Osman, Qhawe Nxumalo, Simamukelo Mkhwanazi, Jordan Ramsay, Nhlakanipho Mathonsi, Wilhelm Fenkse, Yolanda Miya, Walter Moyo, Olothando Booi, Amahle Dlamini, Tinotenda Mazhindu, Mthomboyolo Buzani, Sikhona Ndulini, Wela Takata, Wandile, Zak Smith, Thando Cele, Minenhle Ngcamu, Khanya Kama, Jarryd Nicholls, Russel Fick, Singele Mkhize, Lusanda Ndlovu, Zamokuhle Zulu, Somanga Jho, Thato Matsoso, Ntobeko Mhlongo, Kwandile Mthethwa, Cham Zondeki, Ovayo Jezile, Milowo Matebese, Ntokozo Ngema.
by Mpendulo Letsoalo