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13 October 2017
Top athletes recognised at UWC Sport Awards 2017

Banyana Banyana star striker Thembi Kgatlana and rising cricket sensation Zubayr Hamza received top honours at the 2017 UWC Annual Sports Awards when they were named Sportswoman of the Year and Sportsman of the Year, respectively.

These top awards were accompanied by R30 000 each and it was not first time that the two athletes scooped awards at the annual ceremony - Kgatlana received the same award in 2015 and was honoured in the 2016 ceremony for national colours, while Hamza was acknowledged for provincial colours in 2016. However, it was for the first time in the history of these awards that prize money was included

Kgatlana, a BA student in Tourism, has been in fine form in recent years, and has been an instrumental part of the UWC Ladies FC, who won no less than four trophies last year. Her talents have been noted by the national selectors, and she’s earned 27 caps for Banyana Banyana and scored six goals. She has also represented the country at the World Student Games.

Hamza, who is pursuing his studies in BCom Accounting, is known as a first-class cricketer in South Africa who played for the Western Province Cricket team for the 2015 Africa T20 Cup and featured in the Sunfoil Series for the Cape Cobras. He was named in the Jo’burg Giants squad for the T20 Global League which has since been postponed to 2018.

Other athletes were also honoured at the ceremony for their performances on and off the field, some for representing the provincial and national teams, others for their academic performance.

Sanele Dumako was named Student Administrator of the Year; Chester Williams received the Coach of the Year award, and his UWC Rugby Club was chosen as Club of the Year; and the UWC Women’s Football team took home the Team of the Year accolade.

In her keynote address, Anroux Marais, Western Cape MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, praised the University athletes for making the province proud in a variety of events, and for UWC’s long and proud sporting history.

“UWC has made a significant mark in sport and recreation in South Africa, and has provided many leaders,” she said. “On behalf of the people of the Western Cape South Africa, I take this opportunity to thank you for providing leadership and guidance during the dark period of the last century, as well as in the current era. May you continue to grow from strength to strength.”

She said the University has always been and continues to be at the forefront of sport development, and of hosting many events and activities in South Africa. On that note, her department is preparing to host the national summer games on campus in December.

The MEC also thanked sportspeople for making the conscious decision to participate in their sporting activities, and put in the effort needed to excel.

“This is no small feat. You are a beacon of hope and inspiration to society for mass participation, talent identification and skills development in sport.”

UWC Director of Sport Administration Mandla Gagayi said the ever-improving performances of athletes have also pushed the University to look for effective systems and programmes to ensure that competitiveness remains sustainable.

“As such, working with various partners at UWC and elsewhere, we received funding from the Department of Higher Education and Training to launch the High Performance Programme, parts of which started in 2016 already.”

Gagayi paid tribute to all athletes, coaches, and their technical personnel for representing UWC with honesty, integrity, hard work, and pride.

“No one can dispute the fact that sport plays a huge role in promoting and enhancing a university’s identity and pride among students, staff, and the public at large,” he said.  “It is in this vein that I believe our sportsmen and women have truly excelled over the past year - and I have faith that they will continue to do so.”

Sportsman of the Year: Zubyar Hamza (cricket)
Sportswoman of the Year: Thembi Kgatlana (football)
Coach of the Year: Chester Williams (rugby)

Student Administrator of the Year: Sanele Dumako (football)
Club of the Year: UWC Rugby
Team of the Year: UWC Women's Football