By Katlego Nkosi
Rhodes University’s basketball team, the Titans have emerged with unparalleled might and immeasurable strength to claim the title as the Eastern Cape's Basketball Champions once again. With a second win in the bag, heads have been held high and spirits even higher as this team prepares to bring more titles home this season.
Chairperson of the Rhodes University Titans and Master of Science in Chemistry student, Ephriam Nerombe, shared his thoughts about the victory and provided an insightful glimpse into what the 2023 season has in store for the team. With a streak of numerous wins in the 2022 season, including the Nelson Mandela Bay League, and a series of preseason wins, the team was already on their way to greatness approaching the new year. Preparation for them meant putting in countless hours to perfect their game.
Voted the Most Valued Player (MVP) for the season, Moyo Nyalungu said: “We were doing a lot of endurance training. We run five or ten kilometres around town and straight into practice three times a week to prepare ourselves for the pace of the games. We need our stamina always to be high,” said Nyalungu. Nyalungu takes the centre and power forward positions for the Titans while also being a team member for the Eastern Cape provincial basketball team, The Windbreakers.
The team said Morale is equally crucial to achieving outstanding performance. This team does precisely that and builds family and creates lasting connections. This sets them apart and propels them to the top of the charts. “Basketball is a team sport, and we stick together. We have a great coach who has a good basketball mind and knows how to push us through tough games. He and his wife are very supportive and show up through many things we need. They are parent figures to us,” explained Nerombe.
Nerombe said team chemistry is essential, on and off the court. “It gets easier to trust one another when we know each other off the court. We trust everyone will do their part during game time," Nerombe proudly said.
Despite clinching the provincial title, the team has funding challenges, and Rhodes University Sports Manager, Frans Mamabolo acknowledged the financial constraints within his department, which he said affects the teams' overall performance. "To achieve more, we need to recruit more athletes, but that needs more money for bursaries,” said Mamabolo. Mamabolo said the Titans are the top-performing sports team at Rhodes University. “I think good coaches, team spirit, morale, and the quality of a player we are getting help the basketball team be where they are,” he added.
The team promise to have an eventful continuation of the reputation they've set for themselves. "We have many games planned for next semester. We need support from the Rhodes University community. We need staff and students to show up at our games and watch us play,” said Nerombe
The team sent a special thanks to the Chairperson of the Sports Council, Sue Smailes, Mamabolo and their coach, Victor Maboza for their unwavering support.