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Buffalo City embracing IPT challenges in Gqeberha

By Avuyile Sawula , in Water Sports | News , at 2023-12-07 Tags: , , ,

  • The Buffalo City u19 team has an opportunity to defy the odds and cause an upset when they contest this year’s Schools Water Polo South Africa Inter-Provincial Tournament in Gqeberha.

The action in the pool kicks off on Saturday. 9 December, and concludes with the last round of matches to determine the final placings on Wednesday, 13 December.

Buffalo City, formally known as Border, will make the short trip to Gqeberha with upsets on their collective mind, particularly when they face their provincial rivals, Nelson Mandela Bay.

The East London side is drawn in the same pool as the hosts, alongside Western Province A, Central Gauteng B, and Western Province B.

They begin their campaign against Central Gauteng B before ending day one with a highly anticipated showdown against Nelson Mandela Bay in the last match of the opening day. Day two will be no easier for the Eastern Cape team. They first face Western Province B in the early afternoon before taking on the Western Province A side in an evening game.

Unsurprisingly, the team features 10 players from Eastern London’s sporting factory, Selborne College, while there are two representatives from Merrifield College, and one from Hudson Park High School.

Head coach, Khanyisa Mpumlwana, who is also a rugby coach, and the Director of Water Polo at Hudson Park, is adamant that his side is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

“I’m looking forward to IPTs. Being so close to home means less traveling, which does help a lot, mentally and physically,” he told SuperSport Schools in an exclusive interview.

“This year we have a very difficult pool, and the structure of our u19 section is a do-or-die situation.

“I’m pleased with the squad we have. It’s a well-balanced team. We have school representation from three East London schools, and all the boys are well suited for their positional roles.”

The Buffalo City side has also had the opportunity to train with last year’s IPT winners, Central Gauteng, in preparation for the inter-provincial tournament.

The defending champions have once again named a strong team as they aim to go back-to-back.

Mpumlwana believes the sessions his team had in the pool with the Gauteng side will help them as they seek to improve on the seventh place, which they achieved in 2022 in KwaZulu-Natal.

“This year, the aim is to make it to the semi-finals, which establishes your province as being in the top four best water polo-playing provinces in your age group.

“This year is also the first time in Buffalo City history where we got to collaborate and have a four-day training camp with the Central Gauteng u19A and B, as well as their u16A, teams.

“It was a massive step in the right direction for water polo and Buffalo City. Central Gauteng u19A won the Nationals last year, and this year we got to train with the champions for four days. That has given us a good measure of our goals and ambitions for these IPTs, and how far behind or on par we are with the best.”

Despite the tough draw, Mpumlwana and his troops know that matches will be determined in the pool and not on paper. He will, however, need some of his top players – including Devinito Jafta, Josh Carr, Charlie Caswell, Reece Miles, Anthony van Hermelen, and Phillip Wagner – to fire on all cylinders from the outset.

The coach said he is optimistic that his charges’ opening game against the hosts will set them up nicely for a gruelling week in “the Windy City”.

“Nelson Mandela Bay is always a massive challenge. They play good water polo,” he said.

“Their team is normally made up of Makhanda and Gqberha schools, and they have a never-say-die attitude, so it becomes a massive dogfight between our two provinces. I feel it will be a massive challenge as they are the hosts and are playing for the pride and hearts of Gqberha.”

BUFFALO CITY u19

Sean Audie (Selborne College), Daniel Breetzke (Selborne College), Joshua Carr (Selborne College), Charles Caswell (Selborne College), Sandon Grotjohn (Selborne College), David Hall (Merrifield College), Devinito Jafta (Hudson Park High School), Matt Johnson (Selborne College), Reece Miles (Selborne College), Kairon Roux (Selborne College), Anthony van Hermelen (Merrifield College), Philip Wagner (Selborne College), Micah-Jay Whittam (Selborne College).

Group B Fixtures

Saturday, 9 December

13:05 – Buffalo City vs Central Gauteng B
19:35 – Nelson Mandela Bay vs Buffalo City

Sunday, 10 December

13:30 – Buffalo City vs Western Province B
18:55 – Buffalo City vs Western Province A

Avuyile Sawula
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.