Eastern Cape student athletes heading to games in Malawi
Nine athletes from two of the Eastern Cape’s prominent universities will jet off to Malawi in 2022 to represent SA’s national universities sports teams at the Confederation of University and College Sports Association (CUCSA) Games.
The athletes — four basketball players from Walter Sisulu University and five Madibaz netball players from Nelson Mandela University — qualified at the recent USSA Championships held in Pretoria.
WSU’s men’s and women’s institutional basketball teams finished ninth and NMU Madibaz sixth in their respective sports.
The WSU students who will form part of the 16-member national team are Olebogeng Matabane, Keatlegile Ramorwesi, Sandisiwe Mbiza and Giovanni Jaftha, while NMU will be represented by Jeanie Steyn, Siphosethu Kilani, Mothira Mohammad, Noluthando Maliehe and Juanita van Tonder in netball.
The CUCSA Games takes place biennially and includes 10 southern African nations, namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and SA.
Madibaz netball coach Lana Krige said it was exciting that the players had received recognition at a higher level.
“It’s a great reward for this group of players, which includes some seniors as well as some younger players.
“I believe it shows that Madibaz netball is on the right track, that we are doing things properly, and that our players are being recognised,” Krige said.
She described the recent USSA tournament as the best-ever performance at the week during her time with Madibaz.
The captain of the WSU women’s team and third-year sports management student, Mbiza, said the selection for the national team affirmed one of her most strongly held beliefs.
“This selection has truly proved to me that when you’ve set your sights on achieving something, and you invest the time, resources and hard work towards that goal, you should achieve it.
“It’s a huge honour and I’m truly humbled to have been selected to represent my country — it’s a dream come true,” Mbiza, who plays power forward, said.
Jaftha, a first-year sports management student and the men’s team captain who led the WSU team in its first-ever showing at the USSA tournament, said he was pleased with the team’s performance considering it was their debut.
Proud and boastful of his troops, coach Sibusiso Williams, who was selected to coach the women’s under-17 national team following the USSA tournament, described the national selection of the four players as a “testament of the talent that WSU has within its ranks”.
Matabane finished top of the overall point-scoring charts in the men’s division.
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