CAPTAIN OF DALE COLLEGE – BANGI KOBESE

Every year the Reunion Weekend at Dale is the high point of the Kingwilliamstown calendar, the appearance of the 1st XVs of the hosts and archrivals Queens College marking the highlight of the celebrations.

This year, on Saturday 21 May at 3:30pm to be exact, this normally riveting occasion has added spice – 2011 is Dale College’s 150th birthday.  Daunting ?  Not particularly, says Dale captain Bangi Kobese, even though the team is all too aware that they carry 150 years of history onto the field with them.  

Born on 19 January 1992 in East London to parents Lungiswa and Thembele, Bangi has been an intensely proud Dalian since he enrolled in Dale Junior.  Not only that but, he notes with pride, he has plied his trade at scrumhalf ever since his Under 7 days !

Rugby is everything to this charming young gentleman.  He reluctantly admits to having flirted with hockey for a while in his earlier schooldays, but when the choice had to be made it was a no-brainer.

Bangi feels that this year’s crop is as capable as any – he has two and a half year’s experience in the school’s top team on which to base this opinion.  He feels that the backline is as lethal as ever, with full-back Siviwe Soyizwapi having received a call-up to the High Performance Squad, while the forwards, sometimes on the small side when compared to other Border teams, are appreciably bigger this year. Plus, he notes confidently, coaches Vince Gelderbloem and Grant Clifford have prepared the team both physically and mentally for the big day.

Enough of the rugby, how does he spend his free time ?  Not for him the bright lights – not that there are any in King – he would much rather just hang out with his pals or listen to his choices in music, namely hip-hop and house.

Bangi also mentions that he spends a lot of time pondering his future.  Although he would dearly love to make rugby his life, he has not yet received a firm offer of a contract, however odd that sounds, given his growing national reputation.

Great leaders are often small physically, but you can rest assured that this Napoleon of Dale rugby has no intentions of letting Saturday become his Waterloo.


CAPTAIN OF QUEENS COLLEGE – SIYA MAKOHLISO

On Saturday 21 May Queens College 1st XV faces a lot more than its Dale College counterparts in Kingwilliamstown: they face a huge crowd bent on celebrating the hosts’ 150th year of existence, most of them hoping that the Dale 1st XV will light the candle on the birthday cake with a resounding win.

The young man tasked with leading the Queens team into this cauldron is Siya Makohliso, son of Thembelani Nododa and Linda Makohliso.  Born in Umtata, now Mthatha, on 16 August 1983, Siya is the youngest of five brothers and the only one to attend Queens, at which he is a boarder in Connaught House.

Since his primary school, Transkei Primary in Mthatha, did not offer rugby, his first exposure to the sport was in 2007, his Grade 8 year in Queenstown.  Over the ensuing years Siya has moved from the side of the scrum to the heart of the second row.

He declines to comment on his opponents, concentrating rather on his own side’s strengths, the most important of which he feels is their cohesion, which allows them to build up patiently yet relentlessly, phase after phase.  The feeling of excitement surrounding the game is palpable as Siya enthuses about how coaches John Duncan and Murray Bassett have embarked on the final stages of psyching the team up for Saturday.

Rugby is not his only sporting interest.  He also enjoys cricket in the summer months and tries his hand at squash.  Any other free time is spent in the company of his friends, preferably listening to hip-hop music, or just taking a nap.  Want to invite him to dinner ?  He’s easy to feed – just make sure chicken features prominently on the menu !

Siya hopes to make a career as a professional rugby player and remains sanguine that his talents will help land him a contract.  One gets the distinct impression that he and his cohorts intend to use this Saturday as a very public launching pad towards that very goal.