Personally, Mdletshe has had to overcome her own challenges, especially during her netball career which began while she was still in high school. Photo: Sikholiwe Mdletshe Instagram
Mdletshe, who is the first black captain to lead the University of Free State netball team, believes that she can make an impact by introducing physical activities into communities and also engage with them on an academic, personal and emotional level. Photo: Sikholiwe Mdletshe Instagram

Sikholiwe Mdletshe Uses Sport to Change Lives

by | Jun 12, 2020

Kovsies Netball team captain, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, is using sport to bridge the gap and help deal with issues that young girls face in low income communities through her initiative, Girls Got Game.

Mdletshe has already broken boundaries by rising up to become the first black captain to lead the University of Free State netball team. She wants to make a bigger impact by introducing physical activities into communities and engage with the youth on an academic, personal and emotional level.

Personally, Mdletshe has overcome her own challenges, especially during her netball career, which began while she was still in high school.

During her first season, she suffered a knee injury that left her wondering if it was worth the risk to continue playing netball,  but she bounced back and since then her career has taken a positive route.

Mdletshe has represented South Africa at youth level and captained the Baby Proteas team. Her personal accolades include being a part of the team that won the Varsity Cup in 2018 and being named Player of the Tournament at the 2019 National Championships.

Speaking with gsport Member, Mandisa Ntuli, Mdletshe chats about the standard of netball in South Africa, on the continent, and support leading up to the 2023 Netball World Cup.

How are you keeping fit during the lockdown?

I train twice a day, using the garage and the driveway to do agility, footwork and speed. Also, focusing on the conditioning through the programs we’ve been given by our trainer.

How has the lockdown and the postponement of the netball affected your Kovsies and Crinums season?

“We are aware that there may be big changes and we’re ready to take on anything as a team and will support the decisions made by the authorities.” – Kovsies Netball team captain, Sikholiwe Mdletshe

Besides the obvious of being disappointed that we can’t be on court playing the game and the uncertainty of the season, the team has been quite positive to say the least. We are keeping each other motivated and training hard individually to stay ready for anything. We are aware that there may be big changes and we’re ready to take on anything as a team and will support the decisions made by the authorities.

What has been your proudest achievement?

Being named Player of the Tournament at the 2019 National Championships and being a part of the team that won the Varsity Cup in 2018.

Which netball player do you look up and why?

Karin Burger, from what I’ve heard and seen from clips and as I continue to see her personality, she is a leader, her tactics, how she reads the game and makes play is unbelievable.

What challenges have you managed to overcome in your career so far?

In my first year, I had a knee injury and it really made me negative about the sport and made me doubt continuing. But I just had to understand that injury would be part of the journey and what matters is my attitude and outlook of the future. Also, having to write tests and exams at away games has really been challenging but I believe I’m getting used to it now.

“I believe that our authorities (NSA, USSA and Varsity Cup) are really the people who we should commend for that. Their ability to make and host tournaments has inspired the players to want to be greater from a young level and that’s the one thing that make us the best in Africa.” – Mdletshe speaks on NSA, USSA and Varsity Cup’s impact on netball in the country.

In your opinion, what is South Africa doing right with netball compared to other African countries?

I believe that our authorities (NSA, USSA and Varsity Cup) are really the people who we should commend for that. Their ability to make and host tournaments has inspired the players to want to be greater from a young level and that’s the one thing that make us the best in Africa.

With the 2023 Netball World Cup coming to SA, what would you like to see South Africans do in supporting the tournament?

Netball is growing and more people are starting to support and follow the sport, so if that growth in supporters and exposure can keep going as it already is, we’ll definitely host a great tournament.

You have an NPO, what is it about and how can people donate to it?

Girls Got Game is an initiative that aims to bridge the gap and deal with issues that girls are facing with low income communities by introducing physical activities such as netball, connecting and engaging with them on an academic, personal and emotional level and getting them the necessary support. Building them up through a sisterhood community. We are still in the beginning phases of this project. People can contact us on @girlsgotgamepr on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Photo 1 Caption: Kovsies Netball team captain, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, is eager to bridge the gap and deal with issues that young girls are facing in low income communities through her initiative, Girls Got Game. Photo: Sikholiwe Mdletshe Instagram

Photo 2 Caption: Mdletshe, who is the first black captain to lead the University of Free State netball team, believes that she can make an impact by introducing physical activities into communities and also engage with them on an academic, personal and emotional level. Photo: Sikholiwe Mdletshe Instagram

Photo 3 Caption: Personally, Mdletshe has had to overcome her own challenges, especially during her netball career which began while she was still in high school. Photo: Sikholiwe Mdletshe Instagram

With editing by gsport

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About the Author:

<a href="https://gsport.co.za/members/mandisantuli/" target="_self">MandisaNtuli</a>

MandisaNtuli

I'm a second year journalism student at the UFS, originally from Pietermaritzburg. I am passionate about sports. I am part of student media on campus. I am a sport reader for Kovsiefm.

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