Springbok Sevens ace Tim Agaba has revealed that a chance encounter with Chilli cutter and former Miss Namibia Niell Strydom has served as inspiration as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.
Like Strydom, Agaba was forced to go under the knife late last year to remedy an ankle injury, and the Ugandan-born player had the privilege of sharing a post-op recovery room with Chilli’s Namibian export.
Agaba returned to training in December, but has been forced to sit out the opening rounds of the Sevens World Series. Blitzbokke head coach Neil Powell recently bemoaned the absence off Agaba, and he may have Chilli’s Strydom to thank when he eventually regains the services of the 27-year-old.
Speaking to Chilliultimate.co.za Agaba revealed he was inspired by the grit that Strydom has shown in his battle with injury, saying he is channeling that in his efforts to return to full fitness.
“When I chatted to Neill I was really impressed with his story,” Agaba said. “He has overcome so much in his short life.”
Describing Strydom’s story as a classic triumph of human spirit tale, Agaba added, “As if being struck down by a crippling injury wasn’t enough, Neill’s also been forced to date a UCT player. He’s had to nurse an uncomfortable man-crush on Ant for as long as anyone can remember and he’s a lawyer.
“Lesser men would be selling inflatable crocodiles at the traffic lights by now, but not Strydom,” said Agaba. “His mental strength is enormous”
Agaba went on to praise the selflessness of Strydom and his body-on-the-line attitude. “In rugby they talk about putting your body on the line,” he said, “But that just means trying to get to the post-match buffet before Guthro Steenkamp.
“In Neill’s case he represented South Africa at the World Championships in London, putting the team ahead of his own interests, and that’s really powerful. He’s an inspiration.”