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25/06/2024

The Madibaz can expect an acid test of their skills when they return to the University Sports South Africa volleyball tournament with a spring in their step next month.

The Madibaz women’s volleyball team will have a spring in their step when they leave for the University Sports South Africa tournament, which takes place in Polokwane from 1 to 5 July. 

Mandela University have entered a women’s and men’s team for the annual showpiece in Limpopo.

It represents an opportunity for them to show off how far they have come as a team over the past 12 months.

The women, who placed 14th out of 15 and 13th out of 21 teams in 2022 and 2023 respectively, used various tournaments in the first half of the year as a springboard to their latest USSA challenge.

They also compete with considerable success in the Nelson Mandela Bay Volleyball Association and Eastern Cape USSA leagues.

In addition, the Madibaz won the Mayoral Cup, a dress rehearsal they hoped would stand them in good stead in Polokwane.

With most players only learning the sport when they join the Madibaz setup, the coaching team have been forced to focus on the basics in the past.

“That comes with a few challenges,” head coach Nolan Bentley explained.

However, he felt the period leading up to the 2024 USSA event had been the right time for the ladies to up it a notch and duly concentrated on aspects such as technique and cohesiveness.

Even without players like Sanelisiwe Shiyani and Irene Phiri, both of whom were named in the national USSA squad following the 2023 tournament, Bentley was confident that his charges could step up to the plate.

“We have a nucleus of players we have been working with and we are determined to compete with the best in SA.”

Under head coach Bakier Jallil, the men’s team will also aim to lay down a marker following a couple of rough seasons. They placed 13th in 2022 and were not able to attend last year’s USSAs.

The Madibaz have however produced some good performances of late, most notably being crowned NMB league champions and finishing runners-up at the Mayoral Cup this year.

They also competed in the Madibaz tournament in May and Jallil said the main lesson they learnt there was to work as a cohesive unit.

“That is something on which we have placed a lot of emphasis. We have also worked on our attacking skills to be able to compete at this level.”

He added that he would use the versatility of players such as Zwothe Magwara and Yaseen Connelly to their advantage at the USSAs.

“They can operate in various positions so that is something we will try to exploit.”

Contact information
Mr Riaan Osman
Deputy Director
Tel: 041 504 2170
riaan.osman@mandela.ac.za