Rolling with the Conquerors

Stuart Lingeveldt, from Westridge, in possesion during a practice match, at Battery Park, at the Waterfront. Picture: Fuad Esack

Stuart Lingeveldt, a wheelchair basketball player from Westridge, has been working on his game for the past two years as a member of Conquerors Wheelchair Basketball Club.

The Retreat-based club is affiliated to Wheelchair Basketball Western Cape, which in turn is affiliated to Wheelchair Basketball South Africa.

Lingeveldt, who himself is not disabled, got involved with the sport as his brother, Lloyd, is an amputee and also head coach at Conquerors.

“I helped to start Conquerors and here I am also now playing with them,” he said.

“The season normally starts in February with the Provincial Club Championship League (PCCL).

“This serves as the qualifying tournament for the Terrence de Bruyn Cup which is a national tournament where the Top 10 Provincial clubs play.

Conquerors Wheelchair Basketball Club’s Tasmeed Abrahams looks for the gap during a match at Battery Park. Picture: Fuad Esack

“At The Terrence de Bruyn Cup the Top 6 Clubs get determined. These six clubs then play in next month’s SuperSport Series where the top club in South Africa gets determined,” he said.

As things stand, Conquerors have booked their spot in the Series with a nail-biting 46-40 victory against KwaZulu-Natal’s Buffaloes earlier this month.

Even more remarkable than their achievements on the court, are the challenges players have to overcome on a daily basis, said Lingeveldt.

“Our main challenge is transport to training and other events in Western Cape. Members can’t make use of normal public transport. So we need to hire a service provider which is very costly and we really need all the help we can get for this,” he said.

Conquerors assistant coach Rebecca Callum and head coach Lloyd Lingeveldt keeping an eye on the action during a match at Battery Park. Picture: Fuad Esack

His brother Lloyd agrees, saying, “I started coaching in 2022 and was a player from 2003 till 2021. I was introduced to the sport by a paraplegic friend I met while at CPUT. We studied sports management together.”

He said that anyone can play the game, even those with no disabilities, or anyone with any physical disability, such as amputees, those with polio, spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, and so on.

“We mainly focus on the annual competition calendar by means of training and any opportunity to play with certain fundraising activities which we need to increase due to financial strain on the club. We also do a volunteer programme at Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre in Lentegeur. Here we have members go on a weekly basis to introduce wheelchair basketball to the patients as part of their recovery journey,” he said.

Conquerors’ Mzuvukile Maxakwa gains possession during a match at Battery Park. Picture: Fuad Esack

Covering their costs remains the biggest headache, says assistant coach Rebecca Callum.

“In order to get our players to and from training and tournaments, as well as transporting the equipment, the costs tend to rack up.

“The other issue is a venue to practice. We have a fixed slot at Protea Sports Club during the week, however, booking on the weekend is first come, first served. It can become difficult for players to get through practice during the week and if it is one of our driving members, there are then a few other players unable to make it. Weekends are the easiest time to get everyone together, but there is no guarantee we are able to do so every weekend,” she said.

For more information, or if you’d like to assist, call Stuart Lingeveldt on 061 580 2165 or Lloyd Lingeveldt on 076 190 1550.

Conquerors Elvin Magwaza looks to shoot his way past the defence during his side’s match at Battery Park. Picture: Fuad Esack