Maweni happy to be back with Stings

netball09 June 2023 08:15| © SuperSport
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Phumza Maweni © Backpage Pix

Phumza Maweni says it’s good to be back home and playing locally. The Spar Protea goalkeeper is on the books of the Western Cape Southern Sting in the Telkom Netball League. This is her second stint with the Cape side, which she featured for in the 2016 and 2017 seasons before she went back overseas.

Her first taste of international club netball was in Australia with Sunshine Coast Lightning in the Suncorp Super Netball in 2015. She moved to the United Kingdom to play in the Netball Superleague for Severn Stars. She returned to Australia for another stint with Lightning in 2019, where she played 47 games between 2019 and 2021. Team Bath Netball was her last team in the Superleague in the United Kingdom.

Not only was she vital in helping the team finish with a bronze medal in the competition, she was also voted by her fellow players into the Superleague’s All-Star VII and named as the Coaches’ Player of the Year.

Maweni has been named in coach Norma Plummer’s squad for the World Cup. At the age of 38, she is the oldest player in the team with 108 caps, having represented the country since making her debut at 29 years old. The Proteas, who are ranked fifth in the world, will face off against world No 4 Jamaica, Wales, and Sri Lanka in pool C. Most importantly, Maweni will be playing in her last World Cup in front of her home fans.

The former Lightning player says she is enjoying her time playing netball in her home country again.

“It’s good to be home. I am enjoying playing here, the fun part is to dance before the games. That is what I like the most. It’s quite different from the other league, obviously overseas it’s more competitive. There are a lot of things we can do better on this side, we just need to improve a bit. Overseas you train every day, twice a day and we’re more consistent at the gym. Here there is no time because people are working, then we have to work around that. It’s quite hard but we are trying by all means to make it work. I am enjoying myself at home, that is all that matters now,” explains Maweni.

The Cape side hasn’t had the best start in the TNL this season. After five rounds of matches, they have only managed to win three and are sitting in third position in the Division One table. This includes their back-to-back losses to the Gauteng Jaguars and the Free State Crinums when the league resumed after a month's break. Maweni says the team has it in them to do better and get back to their winning ways when the tournament resumes this weekend.

“We need to execute well and make sure we convert our turnovers. We need to take control and play short balls when we have the turnovers. The communication in the circle can be flat, we need to improve and be better. We need to stick to the game plan whenever we go on the court and work together as a team. We will come back, we have a couple of injuries up front so we are struggling a bit. We are now working on new combinations, so we just need to build up,” she says.

Although the Cape side has always finished in the top four since 2014, the team has not won the competition yet. The Stings missed out on a medal last year when they lost to the Crinums in the bronze medal match.

“It’s still the first round and there is no need to give up yet. It’s a process and we can go back to learn what we can improve on as a team. We still have a chance, our goal is to reach the top four, which I believe we can,” she says.

This weekend they only have one match in the TNL. They will face defending champions, Gauteng Golden Fireballs on Friday night. The Stings will have to pull their socks up and hold their nerve in the game if they are to return to winning ways. The Fireballs have not put a foot wrong and have won all their games to claim the top spot in Division One.

Meanwhile, the Mpumalanga Sunbirds will have a busy weekend. They have three matches, the first against second-placed Limpopo Baobabs on Friday afternoon before taking on league newcomers, Free State Sonoblomo on Saturday. They close the weekend with the big one, Division Two log leaders the Western Cape Tornados, who have not lost a single match this season. The Sonoblomo will be hoping to continue their winning ways after recording their first win in the competition over fellow newcomers, Limpopo Lilies.


FRIDAY, 9 June
Div 2: Sunbirds v Baobabs
Variety 4
Div 1: Crinums v Aloes
Variety 4
Div 2: Comets v Kingdom Queens
Variety 4
Div 1: Fireballs v Stings
Variety 4

Div 1 Flames v Aloes
Variety 4
Div 2: Diamonds v Baobabs
Variety 4
Div 2: Kingdom Queens v Tornados
Variety 4
Div 1 Jaguars v Kingdom Stars
Variety 1 Africa

SUNDAY, 10 June
Div 2: Tornados v Sunbirds
Variety 1 Africa/Variety 3
Div 2: Sonoblomo v Diamonds
Variety 1 Africa/Variety 3

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