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Back You are here: Home Sports Waterpolo Eastern Cape Water polo: Profile on Water polo Luvuyo Rubushe
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:26

Water polo: Profile on Water polo Luvuyo Rubushe

A dream of many young sportsman or woman is to represent their country and this is no different to the dream of Stirling High School pupil Luvuyo Rubushe.


wpThe eighteen year old from East London has huge aspirations for his water polo career and these dreams seem to be well within his reach.From beginning his water polo career as a twelve year old he has excelled in the pool and it seems that no bridge is too far, or obstacle too large for the young man...

His water polo career came about through peer pressure whilst he was a pupil at Stirling Primary School and he does not seem to have looked back since then. He was told – because he was unable to swim, that he should not return but through sheer determination and dedication he has excelled and has reached heights that were probably unthought-of when he started playing. He has been playing water polo for six years and has represented his province at all age group levels since then. His rapid rise could be seen as a culmination of his drive to succeed and his passion for the game.

He has had to overcome some personal challenges along the way. For him, being black has posed a challenge and he says that “being black meant I always had to prove myself over and over again” which could also have fuelled his drive to succeed. For a young black boy to succeed in a predominantly white dominated sport takes a huge amount of heart and effort. He forever had the odds stacked up against him because of his skin colour but this never fazed him as he began to, and continues to, thrive as a water polo player. He does feel that over the years this attitude towards black water polo players has changed and they are now “accepted into sides on merit.” This should give many other young black children the confidence to get involved in a sport that in the past has not been seen as too appealing to the black community.

Speaking to Bevan Manson his coach of two years about Rubushe, he says that “he is a very strong and physical centre back” which is a prominent feature of his game and allows him to command his position in the pool. Manson also mentions an important attribute is “his great shot from the top” which is important in the armoury of any water polo player. For Rubushe he personally feels that his ability to keep a cool head in the pressure situation is one of his greatest attributes as well as being strong on defence. As a centre back it is important for him to dictate what is going to happen and he feels that he has a great understanding for the game. On attack he believes that he needs to be more confident pressing forward. He is aware of where he needs to improve and is working on these areas constantly.  

Rubushe has his sights set high for his future and the way he is performing now, these goals could be within reach sooner than he thinks. He ultimately has his eyes set on the national team and trip to the Olympic Games as his major priorities, but he has another goal. He wants to change the way the sport of water polo is seen in this country, he wants to take into the professional era like many other nations that excel at the sport. Water polo in South Africa does not receive and has never received the same backing financially as a lot of the major sports in South Africa like cricket, rugby, and swimming. It has forever been seen as a sport that one plays at school and at university, but never beyond those levels. His aspirations are to create a greater awareness around the sport and push for the sport to be recognised and acknowledged as an occwp2upation like the other major sporting codes in the country. This does seem to be something that Rubushe is passionate about and if he and his fellow players can produce the results that they hope to achieve then they will certainly change the mind set of many South Africans towards the game of water polo.

At the moment Rubushe is the non-travelling reserve for the South African under 20 team that is doing duty in Greece at the Junior Water Polo Championships from the 27th of August to the 4th of September and he is a member of the Border Schools team that will be taking part in the Inter-Provincial tournament starting on the 10th of December in Cape Town. He is hoping that his team will be able to reach the semi-finals of the tournament and also gain selection for the South African Schools team. According to Manson, Rubushe has the ability to go all the way with his water polo and he mentions that it is important that “if Luvuyo sticks to his guns he can definitely represent South Africa at the highest level.” Manson says the advice that he has given Rubushe is that “there is no substitute for hard work, so put in the long hours and you will reap the rewards”. Awards have followed Rubushe throughout his water polo career from being awarded half colours in Grade 8 to being awarded his honours in Grade 10 to 12. At the Pearson Van Staden Cup this year, Rubushe, was awarded the prize for the best centre back in the tournament and from this he was selected for the Co-ed tournament team. Along with these awards and recognitions, Rubushe ranks being selected for the South African under 20 squad as the highlight of his career thus far and he mentions that he has “trained hard this year, for the whole year and even though I am only a reserve it is a step in the right direction”. Another achievement that he considers a highlight is scoring the winning goal in the ‘Stayers Tournament’ in 2010. Rubushe is also a keen water polo referee, something that he has been doing since he was in Grade 8 and he feels that being involved in activities like coaching and refereeing are an important way for players to give back to the sport. 

For Rubushe long hours and hard work are things that he prides himself in and in order for him to achieve at the highest level he is aware that there are major sacrifices that have to be made. His mother is his greatest influence and he thanks her for her continued support and guidance from when he started playing water polo. With a calm head on his shoulders and a work ethic that would make anyone proud this man is not taking anything for granted and is embracing his ability and making the most of all the opportunities that are being provided for him. The future looks bright for the young scholar from the Eastern Cape and if all goes to plan we hope to be seeing him making waves on the most elite stages around the world. London 2012 or Rio de Janeiro 2016, these venues are perfect for young South Africans to make a name for themselves all around the world. Rubushe, with the aspirations that he has for his future, these theatres are the perfect places for him to showcase his talent.

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