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Back You are here: Home Sports Basketball KZN Basketball: Profile on Thozamile 'Slam Dunk' Sineke
Friday, 28 February 2014 12:38

Basketball: Profile on Thozamile 'Slam Dunk' Sineke

Written by  Sifiso Nyawo

SA school sports magazine caught up with the St John’s U18 International Basketball tournament MVP from Maritzburg College, Thozamile Sineke, after his side had managed to make history and clinch their first St John’s Basketball tournament title beating St Albans in the final.

Thozamile SenekeMaritzburg College, who were the No.1 ranked side in the country going into the tournament, had it all to do against some of the best players in South Africa. However the Pietermaritzburg outfit lived up to the hype and held on for what turned out to be a comfortable 45-32 win over Saint and proved to the rest of South Africa why they were regarded so highly before the tournament took place.

Being part of school history doesn’t come along all the time, especially when your school is over 150 years old, but it is something that is very special to Thozamile Sineke.

"It actually feels amazing to be part of history. Hardwork, perserverance and support goes a long way, especially when you have a team, a school and a province back in KZN who is backing you up. It feels amazing!

But it was hard, especially for the first day, because we came here thinking, we actually might have a chance because we were rated the best in SA, so we thought this was ours, but then we had to put the work in as well. This tournament gave me great experience and great exposure."

Maritzburg College have always been a team that has some great depth when it comes to their basketball but despite having some healthy competition to get into the First Team they have struggled to translate the passion for the sport into titles.

Sineke once again points to the work ethic of the players that have not been shy to do the hard yards as the reason for the teams 2014 success.

“Yes some people are calling us the 'golden age', the ‘dream team’, but it would never happen without the work that we've put in, which has been extremely hard. Practising for three days a week for up to three hours a session, that's tough, but look at the results! It has paid off at the end.”

Watching how Maritzburg College dominated the opposition many were left with the impression that they are a team that are able to lift their game when the need arises. St. Alban’s realised this in the final and although the score was close at times, College seem to be able to find another gear and open a gap almost at will which is evidence of a great cohesion in the team. However Thozamile is modest in the team’s ability.

“Sure we were called the 'Dream team' by a few school friends, but that’s not to say we are anything like Micheal Jordan or Larry Burton, we probably just good compared to Maritzburg College teams of the past who have they have also been amazing but just couldn’t win this tournament.”

Maritzburg College have invested hugely in getting basketball to the position they command at present. A few years back College didn’t have an indoor centre but they now have a world class court and the profile of the sport has taken off in the school with many predicting that they will remain a basketball powerhouse for years to come.

There are few South African basketball players however, who have genuinely been able to make a career out of the sport and if you are looking to go that route one has to have an eye on taking the big step and moving overseas. That is the future Thozamile Sineke sees for himself.

"Yes, I was actually considering going to the Euroleague first and then spend a year or two there before trying my luck out in the NBA and seeing that I'm an MVP at the St John’s tournament I think I might stand a good chance there. I want to push hard for my matric you know, just in case things don't go as planned, I will still have my studies to go back to. But my plan for next year is to go overseas and try playing professional basketball but as well as study while I'm there."

The season is not over for Maritzburg College basketballers and they will be the team everyone wants to beat at the DHS tournament in Easter but Sineke is quietly confident that his team will be up for the challenge.

“You know to succeed at the sport all it takes is hardwork, it really does. I started pushing for this tournament in Grade 8 because I was told about it then I so I thought, ‘hey no one has actually won it from College so it just might be us,’ and now we have won it. We have a great team and team mates who push me. With a team like this we can compete against the best and win the remainder of our games.”

Photo courtesy of Cyndi Gilbey

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