Playing the game hand over fist

KEAGAN MITCHELL

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)’s Sifundile Sokujika, 20, was in fine form with the ball for his side as he created and scored a number of goals at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) handball championships, last weekend.

On top of that, Sokujika, a second year accounting student was rock solid at the back, preventing his opponents from scoring.

The competition, which took place at the CPUT Bellville campus, ran from Friday July 1 to Tuesday July 5.

Alas, CPUT narrowly lost 18-17 to the University of Fort Hare (UFH), in the final. The hosts were unbeaten throughout the round-robin phase, winning three and playing to a 15-all draw against champions UFH.

That performance resulted in them collecting the most points – seven – in the round robin phase, booking their spot in the semis against another Eastern Cape side, Walter Sisulu University (WSU)’s first team. The hosts proved too good for their opponents, winning 23-13.

The former ID Mkize High School pupil said he enjoyed the competition and believes there is always room for improvement.

“The competition was tough as all teams gave it their all. The final could have gone any way as both sides were leading at some point in the match. With regards to my own performance, I gave it my all,” he said.

The young man is no stranger to major competitions as he was part of the South African under-20 side that came fourth in the International Handball Challenge Trophy, in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2014.

He was also part of the CPUT side that ended second at the national beach handball championships, in April, in Durban. He now has his sights set on next year’s International Beach Handball Champions Trophy.

“I am grateful for everything I have achieved in handball but to represent South Africa outside of Africa would be a dream come true. I enjoy handball because it is entertaining, physical and dynamic. It also requires one to think fast,” he said.

Sokujika credits his coach Shaun Mokhine for what he has achieved thus far.

“Mokhine is not only a coach but a mentor who challenges me to perform at the highest level in handball and academics.”

Mokhine said his side was good throughout the competition and peaked at the right time.

“They showed commitment and character from game one. We dominated the second half of the final but lost it in the last minute. Credit should go to UFH for playing until the end,” he said.

Mokhine believes the two-week training camp they had at their Cape Town campus played a crucial part in them doing well.

“We had two training sessions a day, one in the morning and in the afternoon. We also socialised where we got to know each other better as there were a few new players,” he said.

Meanwhile, CPUT’s women’s side ended the competition in fourth place, after losing 10-8 to WSU’s first side in the semi-finals and then 12-9 to the University of Venda in the third place play-off.