Koopman ‘just the man to boost Border’

The Africa Cup competition is set to be a baptism of fire for new Border captain Gionne Koopman, who will be leading the team on all fronts this season.

READY TO KICK ON: Marco Marais lets rip as Border captain Gionne Koopman takes evasive action during a warmup soccer game before practice at Buffalo Park yesterday morning Picture:SIBONGILE NGALWA

Koopman, who at 25 years of age, is already a stalwart of the team, has led the side a couple of times before but has now been officially unveiled as the team’s captain for the coming season.

“I am very excited to take over the captaincy, it is going to be an honour to lead Border,” said Koopman.

“We have a very young and vibrant team, it is going to be good to lead a bunch of enthusiastic players and I am going to just enjoy the challenge.”

Border coach Frank Plaatjes also gave his vote of confidence to Koopman and backed his new captain to bring a fresh approach to the team going forward.

“I think with the new leadership we have a lot of fresh ideas coming through which is great to see,” admitted Plaatjes.

“Koopman has been a part of Border for many years now and is well respected amongst the players.

“He is a very astute captain and innovative as well, he will do things that people won’t expect and as coaches we need to allow him to express those things.”

With Border up against Boland, Zimbabwe and KwaZulu-Natal Inland, with the four sides battling it out for top spot in the pool which will see that team progress to the finals being held next weekend, Koopman is aware of the need to get off to a solid start.

“I think it is important to start the season in a good way, we have high standards for this weekend so we are just focusing on the first game against Boland on Friday and then we will take it one game at a time from there,” explained Koopman.

“I think on paper we have a very strong team, we just need to make sure that once we get onto the field we all know our roles, which I think we do and then we have to execute our plan on the day.”

First up for Border this weekend will be Boland tomorrow, followed by Zimbabwe on Saturday and KZN Inland on Sunday, and the team will be hoping that homeground advantage will play a part for them over the weekend.

“We are used to the conditions here, so we go in with confidence on our homeground, but in T20 cricket anything can happen and we have to be ready for that,” admitted Koopman.

“We are focusing on all teams as a unit, on the day any player can be a matchwinner, so we will have plans in place for each individual and hopefully they will come off.”

The action gets under way at 12.45pm tomorrow with Zimbabwe taking on KZN Inland, with the Border v Boland match scheduled to start at 4.30pm.

KZN Inland and Boland will then play the early game on Saturday at 9.30am, followed by Border up against Zimbabwe at 1pm, while Sunday will see Zimbabwe and Boland will play the first game and Border v KZN Inland in the second match in the same time slots.

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