It’s with a considerable sense of pride that former Primrose RFC youth coach Kashief Abrahams wished the Blitz Bokke well in their quest to bring back Olympic gold.
The national Sevens side left for Tokyo earlier this week and included in the squad is livewire flanker Zain Davids, 24, whom he coached as a junior at Primrose.
“We are so proud of him,” said Abrahams, who is also the principal at Willows Primary School, in Heideveld.
“He’s such a humble lad, hard working, wouldn’t miss a training session and would always shake everybody’s hand before practice.
Abrahams remembers a once “chubby kid” whom he coached from under-11 to under-15.
Initially deemed suited as a prop, Abrahams and his fellow coaches quickly realised that there was something special about this youngster and moved him to the position of eighth man by the time he was under-13.
“What I can say,” said Abrahams, “ it’s important for us to develop in our youngsters a love for the game at an early age.
“It also helps you to develop as a person as you learn to communicate and to socialise with your teammates. It also keeps them away from the ills in our society.
“We realised early on that he needed to play at a higher level and knocked on a few doors to try and get him a scholarship to a rugby school.”
That door opened when he joined Rondebosch Boys’ and became one of the school’s star players during his time there.
“I’ll never forget that final derby his school played against rivals Bishops in 2015 when he almost single-handedly demolished the opposition.
“The rest, as they say, is history. Well done to him and good luck to the team,” he said.
Davids also recalled that 55-12 victory, followed by his inclusion in the SA Schools’ under-18 side that same year.
In 2017, he made his debut for the SA Sevens side against New Zealand, in Wellington, and was part of the national Sevens side that competed at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018.
On that particular occasion, South Africa lost 21-14 in a third-place play-off match against England. Since then, he’s been an integral part of the national set up and helped his team earn enough points to qualify for a spot at the Olympics.
“I was over the moon when coach Neill Powell called me in for a one-on-one one to tell me that I’ve been selected as part of the team to go to Japan,” he said.
Men’s Olympic champions Fiji will open the action against hosts Japan on Monday July 26 while South Africa kick off their campaign in a Pool C match against Ireland on the same day. Other teams in this group include the USA and Kenya.