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Coach Enrico Grootboom speaks about his love for Rugby ahead of iQhawe Week.

Coach Enrico Grootboom says iQhawe Week gives players an opportunity to be noticed

In life, anything is possible with a little help from people like Enrico Grootboom, a former rugby player, motivational speaker and coach for 24 years. Born in the Eastern Cape, Grootboom, who is a Founder and Owner of Gelvandale Rugby Academy, says he is ecstatic to be taking part in this year’s iQhawe Week.

He says that the tournament is a platform where aspiring rugby players showcase their talent to be noticed by top schools and provinces. The eighth instalment of iQhawe Week, a rugby development tournament for U15 boys, takes place at the Johannesburg Stadium in Gauteng, from 3 – 6 October 2022. The tournament is an initiative by the Cell C SA Rugby Legends and the South African Rugby Union, which was first held in Cape Town in 2013.

This year, the Hollywood Foundation has come on board as sponsors of this tournament, which will see 14 boys and five girls’ teams take to the field to display their talents. Most participants come from underprivileged areas to showcase their abilities, with a possibility of getting a bursary from traditional rugby-playing schools.

For Coach Grootboom, some of his team members will be travelling outside their province of the Eastern Cape for the first time to participate in the tournament.

Grootboom says his expectations from his team is for them to do their best and that at least one of the boys get noticed for their rugby skills.

“This is the platform where they can be noticed by top schools and provinces and it is the only chance for some of these boys, so yes this is something I hope would never end in future because it brings positive change.”

As a Coach, Grootboom says what he expects from his players is for them to come to practice with the right mindset and make sure that they go home every time, improved both mentally and physically. “Practice must never be a waste of time,” he says.
For him, the factors that he thinks are important for a player to develop or cultivate, other than the athletic ability, is the fact that education is being promoted daily at training. He says by doing this, 17 of his players got full scholarships, one in Germany and two going to France next season.
Like any of us, Grootboom also has people he looks up to, Coach Dan Kayser, Father of the Springboks, and Anthony Heugh. “Both had the ability to coach, motivate and improve my life and they are the reason I do the things I do for players in my community.”
His dream for Gelvandale Academy is to be the top rugby academy in the country. “Apart from getting bursaries for players and changing their lives, my goal is to change the mentality of our youth. This is what I believe will change our community and our country in the future.

“I am thankful to the Cell C SA Rugby Legends, the South African Rugby Union and the Hollywood Foundation. I pray that God blesses them with all their needs and the wisdom to overcome any challenge they face. This tournament not only changes the lives of our players, but families who change communities, who then change our country. Coming from the Northern areas in the Eastern Cape, I can assure you not all youth are lost to crime. Those involved can be helped and my academy is proof of that, so please never stop promoting rugby on a junior level.”
Enrico Grootboom

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