Mdantsane netball club flourishes on provincial and national stage despite challenges
Mdantsane’s Spiders pushing through adversity
Since its inception in 2010, Mdantsane’s Spiders Netball Club has established itself as a powerhouse in the East London netball league and has produced quality players in the face of adversity, according to head coach Zolisa Naka.
The team boasts players who have represented the Proteas, played in the Telkom Netball League and have made up the bulk of the Border team.
Prominent names from the club include Naka herself and Zukelwa Cwaba from yesteryear to the current generation of Bongise Wete, Pamella Chukwu, Vuyokazi Nodludlume, Yandiswa Makasi, and Lungelwa Ngcanga.
Despite being a talent factory and being a dominant force winning the local netball league on several occasions, they face much adversity, especially financially.
The club is dependent financially on its executives who are also trying to stay afloat with the bare minimum.
They support players who come from struggling backgrounds and also those who are unemployed.
“We have two players with the Proteas at the moment, we have six players who played in the Telkom Netball League last year and most of our players make Border.
“Many people don’t know about us but they see players on TV from East London playing in the TNL,” Naka said.
“Our children are not only representing us but East London, Border, and the whole of Eastern Cape.
“We are a club that doesn’t only focus on the players playing for us but we try to groom them.”
The former national player opened up to DispatchLIVE about the challenges they face as a club and the heartbreaking circumstances most of her players endure.
“The sad part about our club is that we have children who come from poor backgrounds, others are orphans while some are unemployed. We hardly have sponsors to help our players,” Naka said.
“We always help the poor children, we as the executive take money out of our pockets to buy them what they need.
“We buy for the whole team, we do not choose, we don’t do for one and leave the other because if we do that it’ll cause a divide.
“There are things players need, things they need for themselves.
“When they don’t have those things you’ll find it demoralises them, they don’t have confidence and no longer perform.
“Sometimes as coaches, we want the players to always perform overlooking their circumstances.
“At times you will find they have not eaten at home or have no toiletries. We have things like that in the club.
“For instance, others you’ll find they haven’t eaten for two days, we have children who are starving but they are stars, they play for Eastern Cape or BCM.”
One of the many challenges faced by South African sports is that of athletes who don’t have tertiary education.
This often leads to the athlete being left stranded after they have retired or had their career cut short because of injury.
Spiders Netball Club is trying to change that by encouraging their players to go back to school.
“With children who are studying, we try to get them to university and college, we do not only focus on what happens on the court but off it too.
“We look at why they are not studying while the age allows, and we try to help them. We look at their background, their situation at home.”
The club wants to ensure the growth of netball continues in the province and it carries out coaching clinics in rural areas, focusing on equipping players with skills set and identifying talent.
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