Tsepo Ndwandwa looking forward to moving to Joburg to join the Lions

Tsepo Ndwandwa in action for the Warriors

FILE - Tsepo Ndwandwa in action for the Warriors. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Published Apr 7, 2023

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Gqeberha — Tsepo Ndwandwa makes the move up north to join the Lions.

The journey started in Gqeberha, in a township called Motherwell where Tsepo Ndwandwa was born and bred.

Growing up in Motherwell, every young boy or girl with an interest to pick up a bat and ball knew the only place to go is the Mfuneko Ngam Cricket School Of Excellence.

Ndwandwa started off as a left-arm seamer under the guidance of Ngam’s younger brother, Sizakele.

His professional career took him to East London where he played for Border and by that time, Sizakele had already intervened and converted Ndwandwa to a finger-spinner.

His career always seemed to thrive more when he plays away from home and in his time at SWD in Oudtshoorn, he was consistently improving as a genuine wicket-taker especially in red-ball cricket.

His hard-work was paying off as even Ashwell Prince, the then Cape Cobras coach, approved of his raw talent.

That is where Ndwandwa got his first taste of franchise cricket — playing List A and First-Class cricket for the Cobras in Cape Town.

Spending all this time away from home meant Ndwandwa missed out on a lot of family life.

Whilst in Oudtshoorn he received a call informing him of the passing of his mother, the backbone of his support system.

“I always think of the day she passed away. I’ll never forget that day,” Ndwandwa told IOL Sport in an exclusive interview.

“I remember I was getting ready to go play a warm-up match at the Recreational Ground in Oudtshoorn and then I got a call that my mom passed.

"But I ended up playing that warm-up match. I just knew if my mother was able to talk to me in that moment, she would have told me to go play.

“It stings that she is not here to see the growth and the results of all the sacrifices she made for me.” He added.

Only a few matches remained in the 2020/21 season when Ndwandwa received the heart-breaking news and all he could do at the time was to go back home for a few days to be with his family.

Thinking of what his mother would say to him, Ndwandwa did not stay for the funeral, he rushed back to Oudtshoorn to go play, doing what his mother would've asked of him.

When the season ended, Ndwandwa went to Gqeberha to pay his respects.

Having had a few outstanding seasons in the Cricket SA 3-Day Cup, a number of franchise teams were seeking his signature as a young spinner on a rise.

The vast experience of spinner and former Test player, Robin Peterson, and the idea of playing at home again, lured Ndwandwa to the Warriors.

After two full seasons with the Warriors, Ndwandwa is on the move up north to the Lions where he will join new recruits, Zubayr Hamza and Tshepo Moreki.

“Initially in my assessment, I though I wasn’t going to get a contract at the Warriors,” said Ndwandwa. “So when I got an offer to join the Lions, I thought why not?

“I will get an opportunity to play with guys that have a lot of experience, some have played all-over the world.

“It’s just different there — there’s a Proteas Test captain at the Lions, there’s Test bowlers and batters in that team. There’ll be a lot of information that I will receive to grow myself as a cricketer.

“I’m looking forward to going to Joburg.”

The two years spent with the Warriors played a huge role in his development as a cricketer. There’s just a unique impact Peterson has on his players down in Eastern Cape.

Ndwandwa had a taste of the Peterson medicine and says he’s become a better cricketer as a result.

“There’s been a lot of growth here. What I really learnt in my time with the Warriors is that we are professional cricketers and as a professional you must live like a professional throughout. The biggest mistake is living and acting like a professional only in the period when you are playing a lot of matches.” He said.

Ndwandwa will join the Lions when off-season training begins.

@iamongamagcwabe

IOL Sport

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