Upcoming netball event nears century as Madibaz plot their future

netball19 March 2024 07:31| © Full Stop Communications
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Juanita van Tonder © Varsity Sport

The Madibaz Netball Club will have a golden opportunity to evaluate their strength in depth when all 12 of their teams compete in the annual Madibaz Netball Tournament in Gqeberha this week.

The event has attracted close to 100 teams, who will do battle at Mandela University’s in and outdoor venues from Thursday to Saturday.

Besides the traditional entries from local clubs and schools, teams from University of Venda and Outeniqua High School in George will make their first appearance in the competition.

Netball manager Goosen also confirmed that defending champions, the North-West University Eagles, had entered four teams.

“So, the competition should again be of a really high standard.”

She said they were particularly looking forward to their own players gaining exposure. This follows the successful trials, which they used to broaden their playing strength from top to bottom, earlier this month.

Goosen said the sport at the university was healthy when considering the broader picture, especially with plenty of first-year students putting their hand up at the trials.

These were essential to their unearthing of talent, hence it was a priority on their annual calendar, she explained.

The Madibaz club caters for up to 10 women’s teams plus the new addition of two men’s outfits, all of whom will take part in the upcoming tournament.

The very successful Campus League programme also provides a platform for students wanting to play competitively within a social context.

Last year 16 teams campaigned in the league and Goosen said it was exciting to witness future Madibaz players emerge from the in-house competition.

The Madibaz management team have received a makeover for 2024 as former Madibaz and national star Jeanie Steyn takes over as head coach of the high-performance squad from her mentor Lana Krige.

The long-serving Krige, who is now tasked with the development of players, moves into the role of specialised coach.

“We have been privileged to have had a coach with the ability and experience of Lana lead our programme,” Goosen said.

“Jeanie is one of the players who came through the system and we have great faith in her potential in this new role. We look forward to what she will bring to the squad.”

With the expertise of Steyn and Krige in different areas adding value to the development of elite players, she felt they now had the best of both worlds.