The NMMU-Madibaz Football Club have laid down a blueprint for their future and the first priority will be to successfully negotiate the play-offs for the Safa-Eastern Cape Motsepe League in June.
This comes after Madibaz emerged triumphant in the SAB Regional League last weekend, taking an unassailable lead on the log with four matches remaining.
It is the latest step in a strategic plan for football at the varsity, which Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy said had the ultimate objective of securing National First Division (NFD) status for the team.
“Qualifying for the National First Division would be a first for the varsity,” said Tommy.
“Winning the SAB Regional League is a huge step in the right direction. It all forms part of the plan to establish a Madibaz Football Academy and, ultimately, National First Division status.
He said Madibaz had regularly proved themselves as one of the top teams in the Port Elizabeth Football Association league, recently winning the title twice in three years.
This gained them entry into the SAB League – the next tier of regional soccer – for the 2015/16 season and they have now secured the title in their second year.
“Winning the SAB League gives us the opportunity to contest the play-offs for the Motsepe Provincial League, which is the next step in the Safa promotional league conduits,” said Tommy.
“While we have long-term plans, realistically the next objective is to qualify for the Motsepe Provincial League, which starts in September.”
Tommy said they had created a specific philosophy which was based on the process rather than being results-driven.
“We manipulate the players’ cognitive responses to football problems and objectives by ensuring they accept responsibility for their training performances and decision-making.
“Of course, this can only be achieved in an organised structure where everybody understands their roles, from me as sport manager to the coaching staff and players.”
Besides the Motsepe League play-offs, Madibaz will also be targeting the University Sport South Africa (USSA) football tournament in July in an attempt to qualify for next year’s Varsity Football.
Tommy said it was important to appreciate the popularity of football at NMMU where 21 teams compete in an internal student competition – the Campus Football League.
“This provides the bedrock of the football talent potential and recruitment,” he added.
“The success of the football club must be applauded because all this is achieved in a difficult economic environment and challenging circumstances.
“The club has not had a sponsor for the past three years, but the excellence of the team’s performances and creditable club structures provide potential sponsors with a guaranteed return on investments.”
Tommy acknowledged the part played by coach Wayne Iveson in the Madibaz success story.
“Wayne comes with a huge amount of passion and appreciation for student football,” he said.
“The relationship between the coach and his players is a big positive, complemented by the leadership of the senior students such as captain Claudius Sagandira, Sachin Rautenbach and Kieran Koert.
“In addition, exciting young players such as Sachin Jackson, Bandile Skosana and Siya Hans have contributed greatly to a vastly successful campaign.”