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Madibaz skipper wants to engineer cohesion for Varsity Shield

Even though the buck stops with FNB Madibaz captain Leon van der Merwe, he will rely on widespread support from his teammates when they launch their 2024 FNB Varsity Shield campaign. 

 


In announcing the captain for the season, Madibaz head coach David Manuel said, “Van der Merwe is my samurai”, and it is clear the eighth man will play a big role. 

 

The 22-year-old is familiar with the responsibility after stepping in for the incumbent, Arnouw Nel when he was ruled out of the competition due to a long-term injury. Van der Merwe says he wants to engineer a situation where the whole team understands that they would have to roll out their match strategy as one to have any chance of success. 

 

“Being captain is both an honour and a responsibility. The position involves leading by example and being able to motivate the team to strive for success.” 

 

He says his leadership philosophy emphasised communication within the team as well as with the coaching staff, “plus a lot of hard work”.  “I believe in empowering others and making decisions that benefit the team but I also understand that I’m the person who needs to make the final call.” 

 

Van der Merwe, who grew up in Durbanville and matriculated from Paarl Gymnasium in the Western Cape, says the squad had an intensive build-up.  “We are looking forward to the upcoming Varsity Shield season and are determined to show that our resilience and hard work will produce the required results. We’ll have to bring our A game week in and week out,” the eighth man said. 

 

With kick-off for the first matches looming, Van der Merwe has a final message for Madibaz fans, whom he once referred to as “our 16th player”.  “They have always been incredible and their support means everything to us. As we gear up for this season, we’re counting on their cheers and energy to fuel our determination on the field.” 

 

He asked supporters to join them in striving for success together as their presence made all the difference. 

 

“See you at the Madibaz Stadium!” 

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