South Africa’s newest Blitzbok, Sako Makata, delighted kids at a school in Las Vegas when he and his teammates paid a visit for their school assembly.
The 20-year-old, who was spotted at an under-18 tournament in 2016, elicited squeals of delight when he crossed his arms and said “Wakanda Forver” while answering questions. The term has become a global standard after the success of 2018’s “Blank Pather”, which is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Makata is one of several players who have been called up as the South Africans struggle with injuries and players being called up for Super Rugby duty. Coach Neil Powell has also recalled Ryan Oosthuizen and Mfundo Ndhlovu, while Muller du Plessis returns after recovering from injury.
Quite a week for Sako Makata. First time named into the Blitzboks, first visit to Las Vegas, first school assembly and first one to be asked about Wakanda! Did he nail the answer? You decide. @CastleFreeSA @FNBSA @ASICS_ZA @sas_hp pic.twitter.com/nDh5KEo4cE
— Springbok Sevens (@Blitzboks) February 27, 2019
The South Africans have overall made four changes to the team who finished fifth in Sydney at the start of February.
“Sako has been with us for the past two years and deserves this opportunity. He has been a real stalwart for the SA Rugby Academy side in that time, co-captaining them to Dubai and South America, and now he gets the opportunity he has been working for very hard,” Powell was quoted as saying in South African media.
“Ryan has worked hard since his last tournament in Cape Town, and Mfundo and Muller are both fit again, so I am very pleased to be able to take both to North America. Mfundo was unlucky to pick up a strain just before we left for New Zealand, and Muller has slotted in well when he returned to the squad last week.”
“We are travelling with a younger group, but I have faith in the abilities of every player in the squad. We need to regain our consistency, and we fixed a number of things at training in the past week, so the focus will be on implementing that in our matches against Japan, Chile and England.”
The Blitzboks are fourth with 57 points in the HSBC World Sevens Series standings after four tournaments. New Zealand and USA are joint top with 76 points ahead of Fiji on 72 points. They face Egland, Japan and Chile in Pool C of the Las Vegas Sevens.
Blitzboks – Ryan Oosthuizen, Philip Snyman, Impi Visser, Sako Makata, Werner Kok, JC Pretorius, Branco du Preez, Selvyn Davids, Justin Geduld, Stedman Gans, Siviwe Soyizwapi, Mfundo Ndhlovu, Muller du Plessis (reserve).
Main photo credit: YouTube