Ngubane looking forward to United Kingdom dream
Spar Proteas’ Owethu Ngubane never dreamt that the first year that she got to earn her senior national cap would end with her having secured a move overseas.
Ngubane only has three senior national team appearances. She first stepped on the court for the Proteas in January when South Africa faced Australia in the Quad Series. Lenize Potgieter’s injury at the Netball World Cup allowed her to get into the team and she played a total of two matches. Ngubane had been one of the three travelling reserves for the Proteas squad in Cape Town.
The Varsity Netball silver medallist was at first doubtful when she received a message from Strathclyde Sirens’ director Karen Atkinson to join the team but consistent communication from the club convinced her that the United Kingdom side were really interested in her services. Proteas goal defence, Zanele Vimbela also played for the Glasgow, Scotland based team, making Ngubane the second South African to play for the team. She says although she had always hoped to play overseas, she wasn’t expecting the opportunity to come so early.
“I wasn’t expecting that I would go play overseas so soon. They contacted me via Instagram and they said that they would like me to play for them. I thought they were pulling my leg but when I went on my other socials, Facebook, I found her messages asking me for my services and from then she has been talking to me. She has been active in what I have been doing. It’s going to be nice playing internationally, I will learn a great deal there. It is all about learning in netball because if you don’t learn, you won’t get anywhere. It is also important to take those lessons and share with others too because that helps too,” she explains.
The Gauteng Golden Fireballs player stresses the importance of making her mark at Sirens first before she can think about spreading her wings to other clubs in the NSL or other leagues around the world.
“When you play overseas you have an opportunity to be seen by others, including scouts. It becomes easier for teams to offer you opportunities. I just have to go and play the kind of netball that I know and take in new lessons too. For me though, it is about the team that has asked for my services and that is what I will be focused on. I won’t be going there to be seen by others but to do the work the club called me for,” she says.
Donning the green and gold in front in Cape Town for the first time may be one of her highlights for 2023 but Ngubane says playing in a full venue at the World Cup has to be one of her biggest highlights for the year. She made her World Cup debut against Trinidad and Tobago in South Africa’s 69-28 victory. Ngubane says the World Cup came with plenty of lessons that have helped her become a better player.
“The World Cup was great and I must say the tournament was one of my biggest highlights this year. I have improved a lot, I also learned a lot by going to the World Cup. Surrounding myself with senior players taught me a lot. This is why I was able to bring the experience to my team (Johannesburg A) and show the players who look up to me how things are done.
Also working with Norma Plummer was a great opportunity, I got to learn a lot from her as well. Having her in the team, and learning while there is still an opportunity to and transferring that to others helps as well,” she explains.
Although Ngubane had to pull out of the Proteas squad that is heading to Australia for a three test match series, she will likely be available for the later tour to the United Kingdom where South Africa will face World Cup silver medallists, England Roses. The goal shooter also just wrapped a successful Spar Senior National Championships with Johannesburg A as they defended their title. She was also named the Player of the Tournament at the weeklong competition.
“My year has been quite busy but I think on the netball side I have to keep it moving because there are still a few things that will still happen as my netball journey continues. It has been great. One of my highlights was playing in the final of the Varsity Cup for the first time and making history for the University of Johannesburg. It was so nice for us but also coming to the Spar Champs and getting the gold medal again,” she says.