By Tshepo Thaela (Wits Voodoo Kudus)
University ultimate frisbee team, the Wits Voodoo Kudus, had a Rocktober 2017 campaign that was one of promise, in more ways than one.
A positive change for this Kudus campaign was that we had the privilege of being coached by Trent* Myburgh. The lack of a coach was the root of many of the previous issues of the club. As a university team there is a constant inflow of fresh legs keen to charge at a new sport, but without clear direction for their individual game. This time around we had basic techniques to refer back to which would be very valuable when things got tough.
The Kudus would be going into the tournament without key players. Paul “Nussbuster”
Nussy ©, Karien “Mother Bear” Scribante and Nicole “Waddles” Wernberg have been
familiar faces in the Kudus since Nationals 2016. Due to prior arrangements they were unable to be at the tournament which left a considerable gap in the promising and still developing group of more senior players. Their absence would definitely be felt throughout the tournament.
The new team captain Merete “Noodle”, ”She of many names” Goosen, has been an absolute sensation. The first year — — student has had a spectacular year, being selected for the U/24 Wild Dog team going to Australia in 2018. As radical as the decision was she had proven her competence and capability throughout the year. As big as the ask was, Goosen embraced the challenge. She was not alone, she had the spirit captain Tshepo “Treffers” Thaela’s relative experience, loyalty and energy at her disposal.
It was a slow start to the campaign, as nerves got the better of most of the team. 2 11-0 score lines against Catch 22 and Long Donkeys, was not the ideal start to the campaign. As much as we were outclassed by the quality of the two teams, we did not lack the opportunities to capitalise. Cold feet and inexperience were responsible for many promising plays breaking down.
Against Dream the team had more belief. Dream team had many recognisable faces since
we’ve played against them in the Johannesburg Mixed League. The intensity of this regular match up was a salient feature once again with the Dream Team coming out on top this time around.
After a promising game against Paris based team, AhOuhPuc, a game in which our failure to convert opportunities was the one thing between us and a more competitive score line than 11 – 0, we carried Good momentum for the final game of the day against the Swaziland team. Wits managed to lose 2 3 point leads and lose the game 11-10 on universe point. Not our finest hour. This shocking defeat got us to pay attention to the importance of clinical finishing and going back to the basics.
The wakeup call Wits received from the previous day was answered with an increase in gusto and disc hunger for the final 3 games. BUF bettered Wits after a hard fought game to hardcap. Disks of Hazzard also took the game to hardcap this time with Wits emerging the victors. Finally against Da Bique we really had to dig deep as the fatigue set in. This time around, Wits took the available and came out on top.
In retrospect one can see that gaps left in the lead up to the tournament, influenced the results just as much as the new additions to the process. The absence of some of the core players was felt with regards to the creation of a focused atmosphere. The inability to stay calm and remember the basics was the main cause for concern throughout the campaign. An issue that will sort itself out with experience. The coaching gave the Kudu’s a structure to follow when momentum was against us, the issue was in the implementation which also gets better with more experience.
Much like most of the players in the Wits squad, the Kudus have a long way to go before
becoming a competitive team in the South African Ultimate circuit but now, more than ever before. With the structures that Wits are setting up, it’s only a matter of time until the Voodoo Kudus become a force to be reckoned with.