Ngubane hopeful for more game time after Quad Series debut

netball03 February 2023 15:16| © SuperSport
By:Busisiwe Mokwena
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Although Owethu Ngubane made a dream start for the Spar Proteas, she understands that she still needs to do a lot more to impress the selection committee and head coach for the upcoming Netball World Cup.

Ngubane made her senior national debut in the last quarter in South Africa’s 65-48 loss to Australia in the recent Quad Series held in Cape Town.

However, this was not the first time in the green and gold. She represented the country in the Under-21 side, the Baby Proteas.

She was also part of the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association team which won gold in the colours of University Sport South Africa.

She is also one of the 24 players who have been contracted by Netball South Africa, in their bid to move to a professional setup.

The goal attack says although she has been yearning to play for the senior team, she didn’t know that it would be this soon.

“Honestly it’s difficult to get your first cap, it’s quite a long journey to get it. Even though I think my journey wasn’t that short but it was quick. I didn’t think I would get my first cap this early but I appreciate it and I am grateful for it. I am quite excited about it, that I am part of the Proteas now.

I am one of the players that other players look up to. It’s a big thing and I have to take it with pride and respectfully as well. It was quite exciting at first, being able to get in the 12 (player squad) for the day and knowing that there is another chance to get on the court and play, even though I didn’t know that it would be on that day.

Coach (Norma Plummer) had told us to analyse the games and we had to analyse other players as well. The coach said this (Quad Series) was trials for the World Cup. When I was told that I was part of the 12, that was exciting for me. When I got onto the court, I calmed myself down and I just played my game,” she remembers.


Now that Ngubane has donned the green and gold, she understands that her life as an athlete will change. More and more South African will be able to recognise her in the streets and this may create new pressure for her to perform whenever she plays especially for the national team.

The Road Transport Management student at the University of Johannesburg is ready to embrace life as a national team player.

“There is a change, I wasn’t known when I was playing for local clubs but when I got into the Proteas that is where I got seen, that is where I started having people look up to me, people sending messages to me.

"Life is now quite different and getting the whole experience of signing balls and taking pictures is the first time that I am experiencing it. I just have to take it and be grateful for it because it’s not going to come twice. I have to seize this opportunity as wisely as I can.

There won’t be that much pressure and it won’t be difficult for me to show them my talent on the court because I know what I can do. Seeing the excitement on their faces makes me happy as well because I was one of them. I know what they are feeling because I have been there,” she says.

Making her debut in the World Cup year doesn’t necessarily mean she will make the final team that will play in the global competition in July.

Plummer will be spoiled for choice with the imminent return of Lefebre Rademan and Elmere van der Berg who also play in the goal attack and goal shooter positions, both players and Nicola Smith all missed the Quad Series due to various injuries.

Ngubane says she is working hard to be considered for the team to represent South Africa.

“I think anything can happen from this stage, it’s just that I have things to work on. International netball is not that easy. After the game against Australia, I knew where to improve. She has told me as well, together with coach Nic (Nicole Cusack). I don’t think I have yet satisfied her because I want to improve more. My shooting accuracy has to be on point all the time.

"I want to be a player that is impressive all the time. The pressure on the court is very intense, it’s not the same as in the TNL. International netball is different, you have to have stamina. I am just working on little stuff, getting that fitness, going to the gym, and doing everything I can to be fit and to have the stamina suited for international netball that will allow me to be on the court for 60 minutes. That is my focus for now. I am hoping to get a call up for the World Cup but it takes a lot of work to do,” she says.