Boasting a rich sporting history and a sports-mad population, the Eastern Province has long been hailed as the centre of sports development in South Africa. The Eastern Cape is also home to two SAGDB graduates who are steadily carving their names into the sporting annals alongside some of the region’s greatest success stories such as Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince and rising star, James Kamte.
Amateur golfers Fezekile Kana (20) and Andile Adam (22) from Motherwell in Port Elizabeth both took up the game as young teenagers when they joined the SAGDB programme in the Eastern Cape in 2004.
Neither player had previously held a club when they joined the programme but both excelled at the game quickly, to the point where they both represented the Eastern Province at provincial level.
Kana represented EP at U-14, U-16 and U-18 level and has since 2007, consistently made the U-23 team. In April this year, the 20-year-old skippered the U-23 Eastern Province side that competed in the B-Section of the U-23 Inter-Provincial at Nelspruit Golf Club alongside Adam, who also represented Eastern Province at U-16 and U-18 level and was chosen for the U-23 side.
In a tightly contested battle over four days, the EP side narrowly missed out on A-Division promotion after Ekurhuleni beat them to first place in a games count-out.
Adam also underlined his growing status this May in his debut for the Presidents Team at the annual South African Challenge Inter-Provincial. The 22-year-old held his own in matches against top sides from Central Gauteng, Western Province, Gauteng North, SA Universities and a SA Junior team.
Kana, who also entered the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation at the age of 16, made his second appearance in the SAGDB’s Elite Squad that faced a top SA Junior side and a Scottish Mens Elite Squad side in the annual Tri-Invitational at Randpark Golf Club in February.
In April, he was given the chance to test his mettle against the country’s professional golfers at the Big Easy Tour event at Kempton Park this month.
Kana, who ranks second on the current Eastern Province Golf Union Order of Merit, said all the experience this year has been incredible in terms of his own development.
“You can practice very hard and put a lot of work into your game, but you only really improve in competition,” he said. “I’ve been afforded the chance to compete against the best talent in South Africa in different tournaments and formats and that has helped me to raise the level of my game.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience going up against some of the best amateurs in the country, but playing against the professionals in the Big Easy tournament really opened my eyes to the hard work ahead.
“My dream is to turn professional, but I’ll give myself at least another two years in the amateur ranks before I consider turning professional. I’ve still got a lot to learn and I also need greater consistency to challenge in the pro ranks.”
Final year Human Resources student Adam said he has also enjoyed the varied experiences.
“It’s been such a thrill for me to play in the different events this year,” said Adam, who ranks sixth on the EPGU Order of Merit.
“Fezekile is right when he says that tournament competitions really boost your game. The experience has been absolutely fantastic because against other top amateurs you can see what parts of your game works well and what parts need some work.
“We both feel very blessed that the SAGDB took a chance on us all those years ago in Motherwell. We’ve been able to make our way through the ranks thanks to the basis the SAGDB gave us. I hope Fezekile and I are showing other children in the programme what can happen if you are committed and work hard.”