Two-time DSNC winners continue to shine

netball13 May 2024 13:28| © SuperSport
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The DSTV Schools Netball Challenge defending champions, Hlabi Secondary School are the toast of their town.

Hlabi’s impressive performance at last year’s DSNC saw them become the only school to have won the competition twice.

Limpopo-based school from the Sekhukhune District Municipality has now added a new feather in their cap as they were named the Developing School Team of the Year at the recent SA Sports Awards.

The school which is based in the Mogaung village is not as fortunate as some of the schools around the country. The 2023 champions train and play on a dusty makeshift court and some of the players don’t even have takkies to play in. 

Sibusiso Masina, who is the coach, says his players’ determination sees them through their adversities. “These girls are now active because they saw the previous team winning the competition, and now they want to carry on the baton and take the name of the school higher,” says Masina.

Although Hlabi are multiple winners with experience in the DSNC, Masina is cautious about what lies ahead in this year’s competition.

The DSNC is a partnership between MultiChoice and SA Schools Netball (SASN) and offers a platform for players from all schools (urban and rural areas) to experience the sport on the same level.

The inaugural winners have been promoted to the Botho division of the competition where they will compete against schools from urban areas. He says they are up for the challenge. “For now, it is a bit difficult to say if we will get to the nationals because most of these players are new to the team another thing is that we will be playing in the Botho division this year.”

“I think they will be a bit nervous and maybe the lack of proper training would also deter us from getting to the top because we don’t have proper facilities. We play because we want to play but the ‘court’ is not good for the girls because if one gets injured, we will not make it,” he says.

Emily Mochaki, who is the school principal, is hopeful that the attention her school is getting will bring in sponsors who can help with a tarred court for the next generation of players at the school. “Winning at the national awards is a big achievement for the school and even the province. Our learners have shown great talent even though they play on a dusty ground. They have shown that they are quite talented. We don’t have a court, it’s just a dusty ground where we draw lines so they can play. Our school is now known throughout the country because of their talent. We don’t know who will come to our rescue and build us a double court for them to play. Maybe they will feel more motivated,” says Mochaki.