The Madibaz showed precision decision-making and composure under pressure to register their first win in the Varsity Netball tournament against University of Western Cape in Johannesburg at the weekend.
In a tightly fought contest where the result was in the balance until the end, the Nelson Mandela University outfit shrugged off a tough start to record a 50-47 victory.
Madibaz captain Mothira Mohammad played a key role in inspiring them to victory, excelling on defence and attack, and was duly named player of the match.
She acknowledged that it had been a challenging start to the competition after losing their first four games before regaining their composure to secure the win over UWC.
“It was not how we wanted our Varsity Netball campaign to go,” the goal and wing attack said after defeats to Kovsies, UJ, Wits and UP-Tuks.
“But, as a team, we always back and keep each other motivated. That helped us stick to our job on the court and do enough to secure the win.”
Mohammad said one of the key elements in their strategy was to control the flow of the game, playing at a pace that suited them. This made it easier to execute their game plan.
“I felt that we made better decisions and played at a slower pace, which was a big factor in managing the game.”
In fact, the decision-making and a better defensive effort were the big positives she took from the match. But she felt they still needed to do some work on controlling the ball.
“I am so proud of every player in the squad for stepping up to the plate and not giving up when things get tough.”
From a personal perspective the captain was happy with her performance, which was “to stay calm and do my job on the court”.
She needed to call on those qualities when the team from the Bay were put under early pressure. However, an energetic display led to numerous turnovers that saw them turn things around en route to building a 20-18 lead at the end of the second quarter.
Their fighting qualities came under intense scrutiny in the third when UWC took the lead for the first time. The Madibaz’ determination kept them in the game as they rallied to a 34-33 lead going into the final quarter.
They moved four goals clear and although UWC kept coming at them, the work put in by the NMU defence reaped benefits as they secured a 50-47 victory.
The action moves to Stellenbosch this weekend, with Madibaz facing North-West University on Sunday and hosts Maties on Monday.