19 year old Bosmansdam High rugby star needs help to play in Ireland later this year

Mihlali Nomtayi, 19, was scouted by the Rhinos Rugby team for their tour of Ireland in September. Pic: Supplied

Mihlali Nomtayi, 19, was scouted by the Rhinos Rugby team for their tour of Ireland in September. Pic: Supplied

Published May 22, 2024


Cape Town - A teen rugby star from Kuyasa in Khayelitsha has been given the chance of a lifetime after being scouted to compete in an international tournament.

Mihlali Nomtayi, 19, was scouted by the Rhinos Rugby team for their tour of Ireland in September, following his outstanding performance in the Patriot Sports Festival’s rugby tournament held at De Kuilen High School last month.

The Grade 12 learner at Bosmansdam High School in Bothasig, says he never imagined getting an opportunity of this magnitude.

“With the opportunity I got, I still feel overwhelmed by it to be honest, because I have had doubts about making it professionally with this career,” Mihlali said.

“I have always underestimated myself because the competition in South Africa is actually expanding faster than I thought it would.”

Mihlali said that although Makazole Mapimpi of the Springboks was his favourite player, he looked up to 34-year-old Irish rugby star, Bundee Aki.

He said this was an opportunity for him to follow in his idol’s footsteps.

“He inspires me to be more than what I am currently because you might not get an opportunity to shine in your country, but take every opportunity you get even if it’s not what you’ve wanted it to be,” he said.

Mihlali is currently playing rugby for his school and the Connect Academy. His mother Nande Nomtayi said her son, who started playing rugby at the age of 14, had worked hard for this accolade.

“My son is a hard worker, he puts effort in everything that he does. I would like him to go there so that he might get good exposure.

“I am very happy and would like to see him going far with rugby. I think and hope that this opportunity will open doors for him,” she said.

Mihlali, according to his mom, eats, sleeps and breathes rugby.

“He has a lot on his plate this year, he is doing Grade 12 and also it’s the year of going to the mountain, for initiation school.”

However, the speedy inside/outside centre’s dream of showcasing his talent hangs in the balance, as each player needs to pay R48 800 to cover expenses.

“We are going to start buying stuff next week, we will be doing braais, selling meat and hotdogs,” Nande said.

Mihlali added: “Unfortunately I can’t afford the trip. I’m asking for your help of donations. Any contribution would be helpful and appreciated.”

The aim of the tournament, according to a letter from the Rhinos Rugby team to the selected players, was to provide young people with opportunities to excel in the sport.

“The tour has been constructed to expose the participants not only to the sport’s essence of the people and offerings of Ireland, but also the prospective opportunities available to them.

“The tour may also serve as an incentive to those with ambitions of future success and as a reward to those who achieve it,” the letter reads.

If you’d like to assist Mihlali, contact Cordelia Nomtayi on 063 877 0625 for more information.

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