The University of Johannesburg will have a challenging opening programme when the Varsity Netball tournament gets under way in Bloemfontein next weekend.
After showing their potential by ending third in last month’s University Sport South Africa week, UJ face the only two sides to have been crowned Varsity Netball champions in North-West University and Free State University.
The Kovsies won the first two editions of the competition, while NWU ruled the roost in 2015 and 2016.
“We know we have some tough matches to start with, but, if we can do well in those games, it will give us something to build on for the season,” said UJ coach Leigh-Ann Smal.
Besides the matches in Bloemfontein, which will also involve Pretoria University, there will be fixtures in Stellenbosch on August 27 and 28.
Nine teams will compete in the fifth edition of the tournament, which ends with the finals on October 9.
The game between Kovsies and UJ will be screened live on SuperSport Select (channel 210) at 7pm on August 28.
Smal said UJ would be aiming to maintain the momentum they gained at the Ussa week.
“The team really reached a high with some good performances at Ussa and we have been working on the areas that need improving,” she said.
Describing the UJ squad as balanced, she added that they had been working on their mental strength as well for the challenges ahead.