Kovsies have come a long way the past five years in terms of transformation. However Teboho ‘Oupa’ Mohoje’s appointment as the new captain for the FNB Shimlas’ 2013 Varsity Cup season has nothing to do with him being the first black Shimlas skipper. In fact his character, ambition and competence on and from the rugby field are what legendary leaders are made of. Born in August 1990 in Qwaqwa, Oupa and his family moved to Bloemfontein in 1997. During his Grade 3 year at Fauna Primary School he first started playing rugby alongside former Shimlas team-mate – the now Springbok Sevens speedster – Jamba Ulengo. After matriculating from HTS Louis Botha in Bloemfontein in 2009, Oupa became a Kovsie.
He went through the Kovsie Rugby ranks playing for Irawas in 2010 and taking to the field in the Shimlas kit during Varsity Cup 2011 (three games) and 2012 (four games). “I first started out playing for the under 20s,” says Oupa. “I told the Irawa’s coach I would like to play for them and then Shimlas was the next step. I pushed hard and at the end of the year, in 2010, I was added to the Shimlas group for the next Varsity Cup.” During Shimlas’ undefeated City League season Oupa was among the top try scorers, leaving opposition shattered almost each time he got the ball. This flanker really knows how to lead from the front. “The captaincy was a bit of a surprise but very exciting. I am looking forward to it and thank God for it,” he says. “The guys seem to be willing to back me and especially the experienced guys are supporting me a lot.”
And just as Oupa’s new troops will have his back, he likewise believes in backing the new Shimlas coach, Michael Horak, in everything. “He is a new coach and so along with that comes his new structures. We as a team back him in everything he does. “Our main goal is to win Varsity Cup next year. But we have to take it as it comes. We have to play as a team and so I would like to see what happens. “If we simply focus on Varsity Cup, I believe other things will fall into place.”
But Oupa and Horak have a difficult task ahead leading the Shimlas into a new era following the disappointments of Shimlas’ 2012 Varsity Cup. Shimlas, who usually made it into the semi-finals, almost had to battle for their Varsity Cup seat in a promotion-relegation match at season’s end. “I think 2012 started well, beating the Ikeys in Cape Town and everything,” says Oupa. “We had a good team, but they just did not click though and injuries weakened us early on since we lost some good players.
“There is a great vibe in the new Shimlas group and personally I think we are ready for the 2013 Varsity Cup.”