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Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:56

From the head tiger's mouth

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From the head tiger's mouth Image: Gallo

Sajjad Karamsi: Kevin Foote, Head Coach of the Ikey Tigers,  gave VARSITY a unique insight into the team’s disappointing rugby season. While he is frank about the Tigers’ issues, he maintains an optimistic outlook on the future of the Ikeys.


Tell us a bit about yourself: where you grew up, your playing career and your coaching career.

I grew up in Johannesburg and then went to King Edward, where I played for two years in the Craven Week for the Lions. Later on I went to play for Maties and Western Province U21. My career thrived as I played in the Vodacom Cup for Natal and also in the Springbok 7s.I played Currie Cup for the Eagles and then joined UCT in 2005 and played until 2008. From a coaching point of view, I have always coached at school boy level during my playing days, and have been coaching at Bishops since 2009, I also started coaching UCT from 2009.

Do you think that UCT needs to pump in more money to get better results in sports? At the moment if we compare ourselves to UP-Tuks for instance, we don’t receive the same support the sports clubs there receive.

Absolutely. We are so far behind the other universities, and it’s a real opportunity for UCT to step up and create a culture of excellence in sport, to go beyond our brilliant academic record.

The Ikey Tigers have had a rather difficult season this year. Why do you think that things didn’t go as planned?

It has been a difficult campaign, and for a number of reasons. We have a very talented squad but lack a bit of experience, and will be a lot better next year, having learnt from this year’s experiences. We also lost some really good players to WP, and have also battled registering some of our players as students. While it has been challenging, it has also been brilliant for character building, both for coaches and players.

There has been some criticism that this season the Ikey Tigers haven’t been as physical as other teams and have been getting “scrummed and mauled off the ball”. Do you think this is fair criticism?

We did battle at times, but UCT has never been known for a massively physical side, our strength lies in out skills and our ability to move the ball around. That not to say we don’t have very physical players, again our young team will have learned and be stronger and fitter  for next year’s campaign.

There was a bit of controversy a few weeks ago with regards to non-students being incorrectly registered as students and playing in the Varsity Cup (for NMMU and Tuks).  For the UCT community, could you please tell us how many external (non-student) players there were in the Varsity Cup squad this season?

Every University is allowed seven non-students in the match day 23, in the squad we had 12 non-students, but only seven of them could play on match day.

Do you think Ikey Tigers would benefit if there was more leeway and we had more external players available?

We would definitely benefit if we were allowed to register students as easily as the other universities. The student quota is a real problem for us, as we have so many guys who just miss out on registration, where at other Universities they would easily be registered. We lose a lot of players both at senior and under-20 level, which is very disappointing.

What next? What do you feel should  be changed for the next VC season, as well as the WP League?

I think we should be  giving the youngsters an opportunity to play at this level, and give them experience.

VARSITY thanks Kevin Foote and the UCT Rugby FC for the interview.

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