UFH - Dancesport - USSAs (FSC)

Fort Hare’s green dancesport team gave a glimpse of future stardom at the University Sports South Africa national championships that took place in Makhanda recently.

Despite having mainly first and second-year students in their ranks and having to make do without their most experienced dancers, the team punched above their weight to bring home two silver and eight bronze medals.

Dance partners Lisakhanya Mpi and Naledi Bangani secured a pair of silvers in the Beginners category, proving that luck had little to do with their talents on the floor.

Lubabalo Xabanisa and Nontando Tsheleza impressed as they danced their way to four bronze medals in the Adult Pre-Championship and American Show categories.

At Level 1, Phiwe Cele and Mihlali Bali nailed it for their third placing while, at Level 4, there were a brace of bronze medals for the partnership of Phumelela Mqalo and Thandeka Mhlanga.

It pleased coach Thandisizwe Matyumza that UFH finished sixth overall despite several of their stalwarts being forced to sit out due to them representing the Eastern Cape at the interprovincials at the same time.

Despite the competition being “very tough” and the team being the new kids on the block, he was impressed that they could replicate their sixth position from 2022.

UFH - Dancesport - USSAs (FSC)

Lubabalo Xabanisa and Nontando Tsheleza impressed all and sundry at the USSAs in Makhanda, winning four bronze medals across two categories. Photo: Full Stop Communications

And the sky seemingly was the limit as he believed “we can now do even better next year”.

For Matyumza, the performances delivered by his charges were the cherry on top at his 10th USSAs with the Alice-based university, an occasion for which he received a special certificate in acknowledgement at the event.

While his team were naturally nervous ahead of the tournament, they were also mentally prepared for it.

Building confidence was one of the focus areas at the pre-competition camp, where the team members were put through their paces six hours a day.

“We had our sessions beforehand to build confidence but, as you know, when it’s the first time doing something, you will get nervous. But their performance was very good.”

With only a few weeks left before lectures resume, they will enjoy a well-deserved break before heading back to campus.

Matyumza vouched that there would be no taking the foot off the pedal on their return.

“We need to stay in shape all the time, so we need to get back in the gym.”

This was all the more important as the group had the provincial and South African championships to look forward to later in the year.

Now that they had tasted success, the instructor said it was essential to keep the momentum going to ensure the dancers developed to their full potential.