Hamza, who has been pursuing a BCom accounting education at UWC, was named in the starting XI for the third Test match in the series which took place at the Wanderers on 11 January 2019. In so doing he made history by becoming the first cricketer from UWC to don the senior national cricket team colours in a Test, and the 100th player to represent the Proteas in the 5-day format.
Hamza, whose dad Nizaam is also an alumnus of UWC, was named as a direct replacement for the suspended Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis - the only change in the third and final Test match.
Hamza has continuously put the University on the map since enrolling. His sterling form was rewarded with a call-up to the South African ‘A’ side last year and a contract with the Cape Cobras for the Sunfoil Series two years ago.
He joined UWC through its Sport Skills for Life Skills (SS4LS) programme, which he described as one of the best student sport programmes in South Africa as it offers many opportunities for students.
Interestingly, the 23-year-old was playing for UWC in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) semi-final clash against Stellenbosch University at Boland Park – which UWC won – when the news of his selection broke. “We were busy fielding in the game against the Maties when the news came out, and the support and the love that I felt from the guys around me as well as the UWC fraternity was truly heart-warming,” Hamza recalled.
Hamza described his inclusion into the senior national cricket team as a dream come true. “It is an honour and a privilege to be selected for the Proteas. I never would have imagined it in my wildest dreams, and to know that I have been selected is something I’m definitely excited about.
“It is a huge step in the right direction for my cricket career. I just have to continue doing what has worked for me, but there is a lot to learn and I will make small changes if necessary. I’m open to learning as much as I can, and hopefully becoming a better all-round person. I’m just going to enjoy the atmosphere and embrace everything that comes along with it.”
Advocate Nicolas Kock, Director of the SS4LS initiative, congratulated Hamza and said his Proteas debut is incredible for the UWC Cricket Club, the Sport Skills for Life Skills programme, and for the UWC community.
“Zubayr is our first Protea to come from the programme and from UWC, and he is a humble, hard working man who has shown dedication and perseverance. He is still a youngster and will have a great, great future ahead of him,” said Kock.
UWC’s Director of Sport Administration, Mandla Gagayi, said that Hamza’s selection bears testimony to his consistency for the Cape Cobras and UWC.
“Being UWC’s Sportsman of the Year in 2017, his selection to the Proteas was inevitable. As UWC Sport we are proud of our contribution to South Africa’s sport agenda in different sporting codes,” said Gagayi.