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16/08/2023

The SPAR Madibaz will not be overawed by the occasion when their Varsity Netball campaign starts next week.

 

Madibaz vice-captain Britney van der Merwe will make her last appearance for the team at this year’s Varsity Netball competition. Photo: Varsity Sports

Mandela University’s women get their tournament underway against Free State University on Sunday before taking on hosts Wits in their second game on Monday.

While both are considered powerhouse teams in the country, mentor Lana Krige felt that Madibaz had developed an attitude of being competitive, no matter who the opponent, over the years.

“We are learning to keep that mentality for longer in our games and we are well-prepared,” she said.

“The girls are strong and mentally tough, and we are hoping that will be showcased on court.”

The Madibaz Class of 2023 was a mix of youth and experience which gave good balance to the team, the long-serving coach said.

Several players have Varsity Netball experience and those in their 20s should work well with the four first-years to add an exciting dimension.

Krige pointed out that her players were getting “better and better” despite having already played a long season.

“I believe that is because we have had a bigger squad which includes quite a few local players who know each other.

“That has been complemented by some girls from other provinces and that dynamic has been fantastic.”

The excitement around the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, as well as the development of men’s netball at Madibaz Sport, had offered extra motivation for the Madibaz to perform well in Johannesburg.

They have followed the same training programmes used in the lead-up to the recent University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in Stellenbosch.

In the last two weeks, Krige also reduced the squad for some sessions to focus on team play and some of the areas where they fell short at the USSAs.

In UFS and Wits they will face two opponents they came up against in Stellenbosch. While losing narrowly to the Free Staters, they did make amends against the team from the Highveld.

“The USSA week is always tough because it comprises a group of different personalities who have to live, play, train and eat together for a week. That can sometimes take a toll on your performances,” the coach said.

“We have some strong characters in our squad and I am looking forward to them pulling us through. In Varsity Netball, the focus is on just one weekend at a time.”

As important as it was to get a good start, Krige said their emphasis would be on executing their strategy rather than “going out there to chase results”.

Winning is important for the purposes of building momentum, but playing quality netball is also high on the agenda.

“We want to achieve our goals by successfully executing the targets we have set ourselves.

“Once you start chasing the scoreboard, you can lose your systems.”

 

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