Mgijima heading back to the Cheetahs

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Ali Mgijima. PHOTO: Morgan Piek

The 28-year-old centre, Ali Mgijima, is the latest player to be signed by the Toyota Cheetahs. The Currie Cup winner has been plying his trade in Nelspruit with the Pumas for the past three seasons and he will now head back to Bloemfontein.

The product of HTS Louis Botha and the Central University of Technology Ixias is no stranger to the Cheetahs after having played in 38 games for the Free State between 2016 and 2018.

During his previous stint at the Cheetahs, Mgijima, enjoyed limited game-time and this is something that he got at the Pumas. Because he has more experience will be of a lot of value at the team.

Ironically, in 2022 during the semi-final between the Cheetahs and Pumas in Bloemfontein it was Mgijima who scored an 80th minute try to see the team from the Lowveld qualify for the final for the first time ever with a 38-25 win.

A week later the Pumas went on to beat the Griquas 26-19 in Kimberley to win the Currie Cup.

Mgijima told OFM Sport that he will return to Bloemfontein as a wiser and more experienced player.

“I’m going back to the Cheetahs with some much more knowledge and also a better understanding of the game,” said Mgijima.

“It’s a massive privilege to be going back and I’m sure that I’m going to have a great one there.

“The Cheetahs style of play in keeping the ball moving and running with the ball is something that I’ve also been playing on this side.

“I think I’ve going to fit into the setup at the Cheetahs very well.”

Mgijima becomes the third Cheetahs to return to the team following a stint at the Pumas. The other two Currie Cup winners that are already back and playing in Bloemfontein after the outside back Tapiwa Mafura and flanker Daniel Maartens.

Meanwhile, on Saturday at 13:30 the Cheetahs will tackle the Griquas in Bloemfontein. The Pumas in turn will welcome the Bulls to the Mbombela Stadium with this game kicking off at 15:35.

Morgan Piek