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14 June 2018 | in NUSF News

Team South Africa Is Ready To Tackle CUCSA Games


Team South Africa is finalising its preparations ahead of the 19th edition of the biennial Confederation of University and College Sports Association (CUCSA) Games taking place next week. The nations from the southern-most tip of Africa are the defending champions of the event, having bagged 31 medals in total – 16 gold, seven silver and eight bronze – at the previous edition in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe two years ago.



Hosted by the Botswana Tertiary Students Sports Association (BOTESSA) in the country’s capital Gaborone following Angola’s late withdrawal, the Games will see all ten countries in the CUCSA region battle it out for sporting honours across various codes from 18-22 June. They are, in no particular order, Botswana, Angola, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia. Sports such as basketball, football, badminton, netball and for the first time softball will be played across various venues in Gaborone, among them the Lekidi Centre, the National Stadium, Botho University and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN).


As defending champions, Team South Africa has selected a 127-strong delegation to attend the five-day-competition, which will be led by the University of Western Cape’s Director of Sport Mandla Gagayi, his third stint at leading the delegation. South Africa will be participating in five sporting codes, namely athletics, basketball, football, table tennis and volleyball, with Gagayi revealing the processes involved in selecting the athletes chosen to represent their country.


Team South Africa at the 2016 CUCSA Games

All these sporting codes were selected based on the following principles:

  1.  Medal prospects;
  2.  2019 Universiade World Student Games participation prospects;
  3.  Gender consideration.

Gagayi said. “Unfortunately chess, which we competed in in the last games in 2016, withdrew due to financial constraints, as the whole trip is funded directly by member universities and athletes.”


Due to the timing of the event, which falls over the same period many university students are writing their midyear exams, many athletes have had to withdraw from the competition, with two key players of the women’s basketball team, namely Fortunate Bosega and Lungile Mtsweni, having turned down the opportunity to join their teammates following the squad’s announcement last month. “A key factor that may affect our dominance is the fact that the Games take place in the middle of our South African university mid-year exams, and this has led to withdrawal of few key athletes. However, we still believe that we will defend our crown,” said Gagayi.


And South Africa’s delegation head feels all those initially called up, as well as their replacements, will do the nation proud. “Our athletes understand the responsibility that comes with representing their country. As such, I believe that every athlete will fly our flag high in Botswana,” he said.