Madibaz sportsman and scientist, Cloudius Sagandira, saw the fruits of his labour come to fruition in April as he experienced success both on and off the field.
Earlier this month, he led the Madibaz football team to victory in the Safa-Nelson Mandela Bay SAB League and graduated cum laude with a master’s degree in chemistry.
Under Sagandira’s guidance, the Madibaz football team dominated the SAB League to such an extent this season that the title was theirs, despite having four matches left to play.
The striker’s career, and love for the game, started at the age of nine when his father gave him his first pair of boots – a black pair of Nike Tiempos.
“I scored in my very first match wearing those boots, but I unfortunately missed a penalty kick in the final of the same tournament and we lost,” he said. “It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Growing up in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, Sagandira said his studies had always taken preference over sport and in 2011, he made the decision to pursue his academics in South Africa.
He said his family had been part of those offering their support when the 26-year-old graduated earlier this month.
Now in the first year of his PhD degree, he gave thanks to those he had shared his journey with, saying many of them had proved to be sources of inspiration throughout the difficult journey.
When it comes to balancing his interests, he said the biggest source of inspiration came from former Madibaz football captain Kurt Duff.
“I used to worry that I wouldn’t be able to balance football and academics but when I saw him doing well in his studies and sport, I was convinced that I could do the same.
“He was a great example to us all, on and off the pitch,” he said. “He has no idea how he influenced my life.”
Looking ahead, Sagandira said he was no longer chasing his childhood dreams of becoming a professional footballer or chemical engineer and would instead focus on excelling in his field of research – microfluidics and chemical processing.
“Realistically, it’s highly unlikely that I will play football professionally as I will be 28 when I finish my PhD in 2019 and at that age it will be difficult to make it in a professional setup,” he said.
“Instead, I now hope to be a top researcher in my field of study and ultimately leave the world a better place.”