Cats have a solid foundation. We are reaping the rewards of the selfless hard work of those who came before us. This is more than a team, it is a movement. We have managed to overcome many adversities. As a team we have managed to overcome all the odds to rise and be on top of our game.
This is a legacy project. Many legends have come before us and the current crop of players are future legends. We are going to keep the legacy going. It is all about the love of the game. People such Vincent Ntunja who has become a role model in his community of Gugulethu as a Philanthropist, Model, Radio Personality to name but a few of his accolades, was groomed at CPUT Cats. Siyabonga Ngwekazi the TV and Radio Personality and owner of Amakipkip clothing brand is also a Cats Legend. Many of our past and present players have represented their Provincial and National teams both in the junior and senior level.
Hard work and dedication is the order of the day. My hero Coach Thierry Kita started something special here at CPUT more than a decade ago. It is sad to note that the CPUT community never got to learn about him while he was still part of our programme. Because of him, i regard being part of the Cats family a privilege. I feel blessed to have had him as my mentor.
Coach Kita who is one of the most prolific coaches in Africa runs Hoops for Hope and he recently accepted a position as the Deputy Director of NBA Africa. In 2008 he introduced the Boston Celtics to one of our values as CPUT which is Ubuntu. Because of his influence, Boston Celtics were crowned the NBA Champions under the leadership of Doc Rivers. This is the man who invited Kita to talk to his players about Ubuntu first on their preseason tour to Europe and later in the USA during the 2008 season.
Loyalty plays a huge role in this team. If you put in the work, stay disciplined and adjust your attitude, you will go a long way with this team. Being able to interpret what the coach expects from each player is a huge advantage if you are determined to be part of the team. Everybody involved is constantly reminded about their priorities as far as the team is concerned. It is inspirational to have leaders such as Junior Ongenda as part of the team. He is a living legend.
The 2014 team have exceeded everybody’s expectations. With a new Coach in Masie Ntlali, to qualify for the USSA National Championships was never on the cards. He was under no obligation to qualify to the Nationals but he did it in style without ever being defeated. Now that we have qualified, his goal has been achieved. CPUT Cats have got a 100% winning record in 2014 in all competitions so far. The future looks promising under Coach Masie’s leadership. We are building a team for the future but every win is a bonus for us because we are not under any pressure to achieve but we just do it with ease.
CPUT Cats were crowned the 2014 USSA Western Cape Basketball Champions in the presence of some CPUT Executive Management members, the SRC and students who had come to support the teams. Hard work pays. The ladies game was a one sided affair because the Cats defence knew how to contain the UCT team. They made it look easy and their victory was a sweet one.
The Men’s game was a humdinger and they had to fight hard for their victory. It is never easy playing against UCT because they have a really good team. Our team has got players that have the ability to step up and win the game when it matters the most. We know how to win games. It is a team effort and therefore, we do not rely on any specific player to win a game. At the end of the day it is the team that wins. They say numbers don’t lie and we showed UCT who the Kings of the Western Cape Basketball is. The final score was 65-52. The USSA National Championships will be held at the University of Pretoria during the first week of July 2014.
Coach Kimathi Toboti has done a sterling job in developing a formidable ladies team with limited resources. I mean they completely annihilated UCT in what was a one sided affair. The final score was 57-18. It was exciting to watch how disciplined the ladies team were throughout the game. It was a highly physical game which left some of our players injured.
The CPUT Cats family would like to take this opportunity to thank Annelie Swarts for all her support. She is always there for us. Garrett Rose for all the transport arrangements, we appreciate it.
We would like to thank our Dean of Students Mrs Cora Motale for attending our USSA finals together with Mr Loki Manise the HOD of Department of Student Affairs, Mr Sinethemba Mpambane representing the Executive Management of the institution, the SRC Members representing all the students and lastly our supporters who came in their magnitudes for this auspicious occasion. History was made and I am glad to have been part of it. Without you, things would be different. You are all legendary!