Four busloads of Madibaz supporters will travel overnight to Stellenbosch on Sunday to back their boytjies in their side’s first-ever semi-final of the Varsity Cup rugby contest on Monday evening.
The 240 travelling Dibaz students will join other Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University alumni and fans living in the Western Cape in backing the team that almost beat Maties in the round-robin stage of the university rugby competition.
“We couldn’t let our team go to the University of Stellenbosch without support. It’s the support of the Dibaz fans that has helped the team to its most successful Varsity Cup campaign to date,” said NMMU online community manager Beverley Erickson.
Last Monday, fans poured in the university’s stadium in numbers to ensure the biggest sporting crowd since middle-distance runner Zola Budd’s world-record effort back in 1983.
“The support we have received from our fans has been incredible. It’s great to know that some of them will be at the game in Stellenbosch,” said Madibaz coach Brent Janse van Rensburg, whose team will fly to the Western Cape early on Sunday morning.
A team effort by various divisions within the university, including the Student Representative Council and the Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz, to both fund and organize buses for the trip will see loyal on and off-campus residence students travel from NMMU on Sunday evening, with one bus stopping off at the university’s George Campus to pick up further fans.
Opponents have waivered entry fees for the Madibaz fans and will also provide ablution facilities from the overnight travellers before the game at 7pm Monday evening. A special block booking for the travelling party and other NMMU alumni, led by Trust Legacy Director Kotie Grove, is also being arranged by Maties.
The fans will travel back immediately after the game.
On its journey to the semi-finals, NMMU won all its home games against Wits (24 – 16), University of Free State’s Shimlas (14 – 10); University of Johannesburg (20 – 13) and University of Pretoria’s Tukkies (13 – 7). Away from home, the Madibaz drew with UCT (5 – 5), and narrowly lost to both North West University’s Pukke (39 – 36) and Maties (13 – 8).
It has been their best season in the six-year history of the competition.
The match will be televised on SuperSport at 7pm.