The Maties Water Polo Club is on a high after winning the Western Province Water Polo league and the inclusion of five of its members in the South African Water Polo team that participated in the recent Men’s Water Polo Olympic Games qualification tournament in Trieste, Italy.
Maties Lood Rabie, Jason Evezard, Nick Downes, Lwazi Madi and Jordan Rumbelow returned to South Africa this week.
The tournament took place from April 3 to April 10, and four teams qualified at this competition to go to the Olympic Games in Rio: Hungary, Italy, France and Spain.
According to Rabie, the competition was very tough.
“It’s difficult to compete against professional athletes. South Africa has strong players but we only came together as a team a day before the competition started and we had to play against teams that have been preparing together for more than a year.”
South Africa might not have qualified for the Olympic Games, but the Maties Water Polo Club has gone from strength to strength.
According to Lourens van der Walt, club chairperson and team member, the club has achieved some excellent results over the past three months.
“Based on our results, Maties can be regarded as the best club in the province,” he said. “The Maties first men’s team won Intervarsity for a second consecutive year and it also won the Western Province league.”
Apart from the five Maties who represented South Africa in Italy, another club member, Alex van der Walt, represented South Africa at the Women’s Olympic qualification tournament in the Netherlands in March.
“The club’s success has led to a number of first-years choosing Stellenbosch University for water polo reasons. SA players Jordan Rumbelow and Jason Evezard are both only 19 years old.”
However, it’s not only the young guns who are performing well. The Maties Old Boys side won the SA Masters tournament in March. Duncan Woods was named attacker of the tournament, Mike Bond was the de-fender of the tournament and Marvin Kilian was the goalkeeper of the tournament. The team includes seven former national players.
“The Maties Water Polo Club has grown into an exceptional club and has set its sights on many more trophies – trophies that are now becoming a reality and aren’t just a dream any more,” Mr Van der Walt said.