The Vodacom NMMU football club’s Balfour brothers will form a key part of the Madibaz back line when the defending champions take on Toshiba Old Grey FC in the first Port Elizabeth Football Association league match this weekend.
The soccer-mad trio – Lwandile, Lundi and Lonwabo – will make Madibaz football history as it is the first time that three siblings will turn out for the university’s premier side.
“They have a history with NMMU. Their tenacity, dedication, commitment and work ethic are stand-out features,” said Madibaz football coach Graeme Harrison.
Centre back Lwandile, 29, began playing for the university in 2004 when it was still the former PE Technikon, while middle child Lundi, 24, has been part of the format since 2008. Both have worn the captain’s armband for NMMU.
New recruit Lonwabo, 19, joins his siblings for the first time this season.
“Lundi was at Victoria Park High School when I started playing and would come and watch our training sessions and games,” said Lwandile.
“The coaches asked him to bring his boots so he could feel how it was to train with senior players – and the rest is history.”
The young upstart, who occupies the right back position, received his call-up to the NMMU side while still in Grade 11.
“We all think of NMMU as a good stepping stone for showcasing our talent, and seeing how happy Lwandile was playing for the university team gave us all motivation to join,” said most recent addition Lonwabo.
The centre back said he was impressed with the team’s performance leading up to the first major competition.
“We have been working hard from January and preparations have been very good but there is always room for improvement.”
Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy said he was confident the team would do well in the tournament as they had won five of their seven preparation matches against other local teams.
Both the Premier and Premier Reserve teams were Pefa league champions in 2014.
“NMMU has firmly established itself as the leaders of amateur football in the province,” said Tommy.
Other players to watch out for this season are team captain Kurt Duff, newbie Zusakhe Sali, deadly finisher Kieran Koert and mature players Claudius Sagandira and Simamkele Thobi.
The Pefa league runs from April to October and NMMU is also currently ranked number one in terms of the Provincial University League.
The Madibaz are also set to compete in the Ussa Eastern Cape and Varsity Football tournaments as well as the SAB League play-offs later this year.
Friday’s game will take place at 8.15pm on NMMU’s South Campus.
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