CAPE TOWN – Ubuntu Cape Town central defender Khanya Gwala has trod a long journey in his quest to make it as a professional footballer. The 25-year-old has had stints at Orlando Pirates, the University of Pretoria and Cape Town All Stars – but it’s now at Ubuntu where he is finally blossoming as a player.
The Cape National First Division (NFD) side takes on PSL club Free State Stars in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.30pm) – and Gwala is quietly confident that Ubuntu can pull off another upset after already having dispatched of Polokwane City and AmaZulu in the competition.
“They (Stars) are a difficult team to play against,” said the defender. “But we have prepared well and we are ready. We are just going to focus on ourselves and on what we have to do.
We have many quality youngsters in the squad, who are improving with every training session and with every game. The players have a great mentality, which is why we have to make sure that we create chances and that we don’t make any errors at the back.”
Ubuntu got to the NFD by purchasing the franchise of neighbours FC Cape Town. The main motivation behind getting to the NFD was to provide something for the players in the club’s academy and soccer school to aim for. The objective was achieved in that quite a few of the graduates are now making their presence felt in the NFD team.
But, not just that, in addition to the club’s youngsters coming through the ranks, Ubuntu have also managed to lure talent from other teams. One such name who has come to prominence is Gwala.
“It has been a great learning season for us,” said the 25-year-old from the Eastern Cape. “But, despite that, it has also been a great season, in that we have people behind the scenes who inspire us, not just as footballers but with regard to life too. It is like a family at Ubuntu.”