Andisa Ntsila has swopped the coastal city of Durban where he played for the Sharks, for the City of Roses – Bloemfontein – making the Cheetahs his new home. At the age of 26, the flanker says: “I believe it is the right move and perfect opportunity to build on my rugby career.”
A player who has played at every level in South Africa, from the South Western Districts U19 and U21 to the NMMU Madibaz in the Varsity Cup, to Vodacom Cup with SWD in 2015-2016 and then with the Southern Kings in Super Rugby. Last year he played for the Sharks in the Currie Cup.
The former Queenian, whose family still lives in Komani, is optimistic that the move came at the right time and will offer him countless opportunities to grow as a player in a new environment, adapting to a new culture. He said: “I am starting a new journey and a new chapter in my life. The Cheetahs play the kind of rugby which I am accustomed to and admire. They offered me a good deal which I could not resist. I am excited to be part of the Cheetahs family and I know it is going to be a challenge to fight for that starting position, but a challenge that I am up to.”
Ntsila is facing stiff competition for that loose forward position with Springbok Oupa Mohoje, Jasper Wiese and Junior Pokomela all vying for the same spot. As a seasoned campaigner who has played with some of the best, including two matches for the South Africa A side against the French Barbarians in 2017, competition is nothing new to him.
The Cheetahs are currently competing in the Pro 14 competition. Andisa Ntsila is no stranger to the competition after playing two years with the Southern Kings in the very same competition. Ntsila said: “I’m used to playing in the Pro 14 and know exactly what to expect, especially from the teams up north. I am used to travelling to the northern hemisphere, although this time around it will be in the colours of a different team. I am accustomed to the conditions and with the squad we have at the Cheetahs, I am sure we will do well.”
These are exciting times for the player, who says the extra incentives will be that his family will not be far from Bloemfontein, as a four-hour drive is much closer to home than Durban.
Ntsila is still hungry to make it into the Bok team but he needs to settle in Bloemfontein first, fight for a starting berth and improve his overall game. He is just thankful for the privilege and wonderful opportunity to do what he does best, and that is to play rugby.
Known for his ruthlessness on the field of play, there is no doubt that Andisa Ntsila will make a big impact at the Cheetahs.