Maties Sport is looking to continue its winning streak at the upcoming University Sport South Africa (USSA) games, set to take place in the first two weeks of December across the country.
The annual summer games will feature various sporting codes, including Cricket, Football, and Sailing, which will be hosted in Cape Town; Tennis and Golf, which will be hosted at Rhodes University; Table Tennis in Bloemfontein; Chess in Durban, and Water Polo in Gqeberha.
The USSA games will represent a first for many athletes, while for others it will be their last tournament as a member of the Stellenbosch University’s team.
First-year BEd student and Maties Golf player, Anita Chen shares her excitement about making her university debut at SU. Having competed for the Western Province Golf Team, Chen is familiar with the structure of the tournament and is looking forward to playing and connecting with some of the best golfers in the country. She believes this competition will be a great opportunity for her to refine her golf skills and gain experience.
Maties Cricket Coach, Ryan Bailey shared a powerful message at Maties Sport USSA Send Off Function on Tuesday 28 November 2023.
“We need to be aggressive; we need to go out there and carry the maroon machine flag and leave a legacy for the student athletes that are leaving us and a legacy for the first years coming in February. So today marks a special journey that promises, challenges, victories and memories that will last a lifetime. We stand here together to send off our incredible sports teams on a mission that goes far beyond the fields, courts or a track. We’re sending a group of dedicated athletes that have poured out their hearts and souls out to this endeavour.”
Furthermore, Bailey commended the leadership of his fellow coaches, who have been instrumental in shaping their teams into a formidable ones. “Your dedication to their growth as student-athletes is commendable. The lessons you’ve instilled beyond the game, you’ve taught them about teamwork, resilience, and the power of believing in themselves and others.”
Anika du Plessis, the Maties Tennis Champ and SU postgraduate student shares her appreciation to Maties Sport for allowing the chess team to compete in tournaments, the most recent one was the Western Province Club Premier League Chess Champions, where the team emerged victorious after winning 10 of their 11 league matches. Which has not been won by Maties in 12 years.
Another highlight of USSA is the Maties Water Polo men’s and women’s teams who have been the dominant force at the USSA tournament in recent years. Both teams have won the tournament back-to-back since 2019, and both teams are determined to retain their gold USSA titles. The Tennis team, who placed second overall last year, is determined to claim gold and secure their spot at the top.
There is no doubt that Stellenbosch University and Maties Sport provide its students with many benefits that many other universities do not. In her address, the Chief Director Ilhaam Groenewald highlighted Maties Sport’s vision ‘to be a leading university committed to a holistic and diverse sports experience’, and that both athletes and coaches are contributors to the vision.
She acknowledged and thanked the student-athletes, coaches and support staff for their hard work and urged everyone to be resilient, look after each other, and make new friends. And to give their best and of course, to bring back the medals, especially the gold.
All eight teams have been training and prepared throughout the year and are ready to showcase their skills. The Maroon Machine are determined to win and hopes to set a new standard this year.
By Jamie Wyngaardt