Four members of the Spar national netball squad have been included in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) team for the inaugural World University Netball Championships (WUNC) to be played in Cape Town in July.
They are Bongiwe Msomi of the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Maryke Holtzhausen of Free State University (Kovsies), and two Pretoria University (Tuks) players, Vanes-Mari du Toit and Melissa Myburgh.
Kovsies players dominate the team, with five players coming from the Free State. Tuks and North West University-Potchefstroom (NWU-Puk) have two each, while DUT, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have one representative each.
Coach Dorette Badenhorst said she was very happy with the team selection. “I think we have chosen 12 brilliant players,” she said. “I am feeling very positive, because they will work well together, and be a great team that will go for gold.”
She said the biggest challenge was that the tournament was the first of its kind, and little was known about the other teams. “We have to approach this like the world championships, but we really don’t know what to expect.”
Badenhorst said she was thrilled to have been appointed to coach the USSA team. “It is a privilege, and is a step forward in my coaching career,” she said. “I will be coaching the Under21 team at the World Under21 Championships in Wales next year, and I will learn a lot from coaching at this tournament.”
Spar Protea player Vanes-Mari du Toit said that university netball was the foundation of top-level netball in South Africa. “As students, we have the opportunity to train and to experience internal competition among the universities,” she said.
“The universities are very competitive, so being selected as one of the best players is a great honour. “I’m very excited about the tournament, and I think it’s a great advantage that most of us have played together before and know each other very well.
“I think the biggest challenge will be facing players we’ve never seen before. Also, South Africa is hosting the first ever (WUNC) tournament, so we really have to step up and set the bar high for university netball.
“If we can do well, it will show the foundations of netball in South Africa are healthy,” said Du Toit. “I’m also very excited that all the players are of a similar age. I think it’s going to be fun.”
The WUNC, involving a number of international countries, will be played at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town from 2 to 7 July, 2012.