Mngomezulu hoping for FAST5 glory
Goal shooter, Nomfundo Mngomezulu is hopeful South Africa will have a successful tournament at the 2023 edition of the FAST5 Netball World Series.
The South African team led by coach Martha Mosoahle-Samm achieved their best finish in the competition when the team took the silver medal in last year’s edition.
The FAST5 Proteas have taken part in 10 of the 11 editions of the competition and had only gotten into the top four twice, in the 2012 and 2013 editions. In 2012, the team defeated Jamaica and they took home a bronze medal.
The competition sees the world’s top-six ranked teams play netball’s five-a-side version of the sport. Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, England, and Malawi are the other countries who will be vying for the gold at the Wolfbrook Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The two-day competition is set for 11-12 November. This year’s tournament will also see the South African men’s side taking part in the competition for the first time. They will face Australia and New Zealand in the men’s division of the tournament.
Coach Mosoahle-Samm’s side has changed a lot from the team that lost to Australia in the finals in 2022. Only four players have been called back into the team. Mngomezulu is one of the new players that will taste the competition.
The Spar Senior National Championship-winning player says she is excited about the task ahead, even though she has not played the shorter version of the game before.
“It is the first time that I will be playing in the Fast5 and even going to New Zealand, it is my first time. I think we need to take it one game at a time and the fact that it will be the first time for most of us, we have to grab this opportunity with both hands.
We all have one goal, and that is to win. We all are grateful for the opportunity to represent the country at the tournament.
"We have to work as a team, which will help us a great deal in getting onto the medal podium. Listening to the coach will be very important, taking her instructions and implementing them on the court and other things will follow. I have heard a lot of people say coach Martha is a good coach and I am looking forward to learning from her as well, she says.”
The Gauteng Golden Fireball shooter understands that preparation and making efforts to become better in the shooting circle will go a long way in helping the team do well. She says competitions like the Spar Championship have helped her build confidence in the attack.
The shorter and quicker version of the game has three different scoring zones with goals shot from outside the goal circle worth three and inside the goal circle split into two and one goal zones. Mngomezulu understands that confidence will be vital in getting her accurate shots at goal.
“I am trying to work on my confidence in the shooting circle, especially with long-range shots. I am usually not a long-range shooter but now I am doing better and I need to build from there. The Spar National Championships really helped me a lot in gaining my confidence with long shots,” she explains.
The University of Johannesburg player has grown since the first time she took to the court in the green and gold. She made her debut in the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers in Tshwane when the Proteas beat neighbours, Botswana 60-37 in their opening match of the competition.
She was also named the player of the match in that encounter. Mngomezulu also made the 24-player team that earned the first national contracts from Netball South Africa. She says representing the country has changed her life in a way she had not imagined.
“It has been a good year for me, especially getting the call-up for the Spar Proteas. My life has changed a lot. I didn’t think God would answer so soon. I think I am blessed to get this chance. It had always been one of my wishes, to be part of the Proteas and winning the gold (Africa World Cup qualifiers). That means a lot to me,” she says.
All centre passes shall be taken by the team that did not score the last goal.
The coin toss at the start of the game will determine which team takes the first centre pass in each quarter.
The coin toss winner: Chooses the centre pass in either the first and third quarters or the second and fourth quarters.
The coin toss loser: Takes the first centre pass in the quarters not chosen by the winning team.
FAST5 SQUAD: Zandre Smit, Amber Coraizin, Nozipho Ntshangase, Jeanie Steyn, Sian Moore, Nomfundo Mngomezulu, Shannen Bartlett, Danielle van Nieuwenhuysen, Tinita van Dyk, Ane Retief
NON-TRAVELLING RESERVES: Didintle Keebine, Chantelle Swart