As anticipation mounts for the upcoming varsity netball tournament starting on Sunday 20 August we preview defending champions Maties and former title holders Tuks. The air is electric with excitement as netball enthusiasts eagerly await to see if the maroon machine from Stellenbosch can secure back-to-back titles or if the university of Pretoria outfit can reclaim their former glory. The stage is set for a riveting season that promises to showcase the finest talent and strategic prowess in varsity netball.
Maties are the defending champions after they beat NMU in last year’s final in front of an enthusiastic home crowd in Stellenbosch, with coach Zanele Mdodana afterwards saying “We’ve been building up to this moment, the hard work that’s gone in, year in, year out. We knew today was our day.”
This year, Mdodana says the preparations have been going well and there is a certain expectation.
“To be the best Maroon Machine we can be, focusing on the task in the moment. We are looking forward to a solid campaign this year.”
She is also excited about the youngsters joining the squad.
“There are nine first-years in our Varsity Netball squad of 16. They are young dynamic players who contributed to us winning back-to-back USSA titles.”
Maties squad (subject to change): Lisa Ingwersen, Rochelle Maree, Chrisley Marshall, Renezia Andrews, Nerine Koopman, Kerrin de Nobrega, Danielle van Nieuwenhuizen, Entle Futshane, Miriam Ndjadji, Lize Rossouw, Syntiche Kabuya, Zane Bodenstein, Lara Steenkamp, Hannah Olivier, Thabisa Yekani, Carla Janse van Rensburg.
UP-Tuks, champions in 2017 and 2019, have made some great improvements throughout the season and they are on track, says coach Jenny van Dyk.
“We play Varsity Netball to win.”
Van Dyk says there are a handful of new players that could have an impact during this year’s tournament.
“Luca Keun was selected as the defender of the tournament at SA Schools 2022, she plays goal defence. Phophi Nematangari was selected as the defender of the tournament at the SA U19 Championships and she also played for the Gauteng Jaguars this year.”
According to Van Dyk, the impact of Varsity Netball on the national system is crucial.
“It’s a very important feeder to the squad, especially the SA U21 squad as the majority of the players in Varsity Netball are usually 21 and under.”
UP-Tuks squad (subject to change): Alice Kennon, Amber Marshall, Anja van den Heever, Caroline Paul, Hitsakile Ndhlovu, Kamogelo Maseko, Kylie van Wyk, Luca Keun, Marichelle Visagie, Melissa van Zyl, Milla Coetzee, Nompha Raphalalani, Phophi Nematangari, Regan Millard, Tshiamo Ramodibe, Zionne Grobler.
Full fixture list HERE.
More information on tickets HERE.