Bobcats add pair from Saskatchewan


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The Brandon University Bobcats’ string of men’s soccer success is finally attracting Canadians outside of Manitoba.

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The Brandon University Bobcats’ string of men’s soccer success is finally attracting Canadians outside of Manitoba.

The two-time defending Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference futsal champions and winners of two of the last three soccer titles have signed Saskatchewan products Zsombor Deak and Kapaya Chilufya for the 2023-24 season.

Chilufya played in the Golden Boy indoor tournament in Winnipeg this winter and it turned into quite the recruiting trip for Bobcats coach Glen McNabb, who added Crocus Plainsmen Edwin Cerquera after seeing him play there, along with Morden product Matt Wolfe, for next season.

Yorkton's Kapaya Chilufya has committed to the Brandon University men's soccer team for the 2023-24 MCAC season. (Submitted)

“He’s got some versatility,” McNabb said.

“He was playing centre back but he’s also played some midfield. Very high soccer IQ, very good skills. He can defend well. He makes good decisions when he gets the ball and he’s quite quick.

“He’s a smaller player but he’s quite agile, quite quick and makes good decisions.”

Chilufya was born in England and moved to British Columbia at age two, before settling in Yorkton, Sask. His father played semi-professional soccer in Africa before that and he grew up surrounded by the game.

He captained his Sacred Heart High School squad to the 4A provincial final, losing to Moose Jaw Central.

“Right up until the end I was just focused on soccer until the end I realized that we didn’t win,” Chilufya said. “That was a crazy feeling, the most crazy feeling I’ve had playing soccer. Realizing it was my last high school soccer game ever, that was the closest I’ve been to having tears in my eyes from playing soccer.”

He said he’s patient on the ball and protects it well, biding time to make correct decisions but admits sometimes that patience is a negative, especially as the game gets faster and the windows of time to make passes shrink.

The centre-back will have time to adjust, however, and learn alongside veteran defender Nathan Chubaty.

Deak joins as the third goalkeeper behind Brazilian Matheus Souza and Winnipeg’s Ryder Anthony, who missed 2022-23 with a knee injury.

“Zsombor is more for the future in net but he’s really active,” McNabb said.

“I only saw him during an ID camp that was indoor. He’s actually a fairly strong futsal keeper, so that gives us another option there … Actually, Matheus prefers to play out in futsal so having another keeper gives us some options.”

Moose Jaw's Zsondor Deak has committed to the Brandon University men's soccer team for the 2023-24 MCAC season. (Submitted)

The Hungarian keeper grew up in Moose Jaw, Sask., and played for Celtic FC there before joining JJ Soccer Limited for a few seasons. His introduction to goalkeeping is common. He stepped in to mess around with friends one time and happened to have a knack for stopping shots. A coach saw his ability and kept him there.

He’ll be BU’s biggest keeper, standing six-foot-three, but knows where he stands.

“I need to work on being a lot more confident in net,” he said. “I don’t expect to have a lot of playing time in my first two years because they have two goalkeepers and they’re really good. I’m just hoping I can learn knowledge from them and become that good player to crack the lineup in a couple of years.”

Chilufya trained with Deak a few years back and feels he’ll be solid if he keeps progressing the way he has.

“Back then he was a quiet player,” Chilufya said. “He wasn’t one of the better goalkeepers there but he’s improved so much. It’s crazy how much he’s improved.”


» Twitter: @thomasmfriesen

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