Mthetheleli Godfrey believes the strength of his game relies on his faith, mental and physical hard work and the motivation he gets from his mom and older sister.
Mthetheleli ‘Tazz’ Fuzani’s big break didn’t happen after a heroic scrum, amazing tackle or miraculous try but in an office at the University of the Western Cape.
It was here that the University’s Varsity Cup coach, Pieter de Villiers, told him he had the potential to play for DHL Western Province.
“That was the moment I started believing in myself and that it was possible,” says Tazz who now plays for the Phakisa Pumas.
For someone who has earned his reputation in the bruising, confrontational intensity of the scrum it comes as a bit of a surprise to discover that Tazz considers mental strength as important as physical preparation.
“To me mental strength means that you regulate your emotions. Manage your thoughts and behave in a positive manner. Things don’t always go your way, so you need a good mindset. Be humble, be hungry and get better every day.”
It’s the same attitude that he has towards the 2019 Currie Cup Tournament: “It’s important for me because I’m honoured to be able to take part in the oldest rugby competition in the world and it’s also a good platform to show my talent.”
The Phakisa Pumas, the pride of Mpumalanga, opened their doors in 1969. Formerly known as the South Eastern Transvaal, their home matches are played at the Mbombela Stadium. The Phakisa Pumas are the only team in this year’s Currie Cup tournament that have never won the coveted trophy. However, they won the 2018 SuperSport Rugby Challenge, which can only be a good sign for their upcoming Currie Cup campaign.
The Nelspruit team have always been well supported throughout the Mpumalanga Province. They have won the Currie Cup First Division on three occasions in 2005, 2009 and 2013 respectively, and earned Currie Cup Premier Division status in 2006 and 2010. The Phakisa Pumas, despite being one of the younger unions, have given some of the more established teams in the competition a go in the past, and will again look to do the same this year.
The Phakisa Pumas finished top of the log in the 2018 SuperSport Rugby Challenge, and beat Tafel Lager Griquas 32-30 in a gripping final in Oudtshoorn. They also won the Vodacom Cup in 2015.