There is a mood of excitement in the SPAR Madibaz netball camp as they look ahead to the opening weekend of Varsity Netball in Port Elizabeth.
A total of four matches will be played on Sunday and Monday at the Madibaz Indoor Sports Centre at the Nelson Mandela University South Campus. The visiting teams are University of Western Cape, Vaal University of Technology and Stellenbosch.
Madibaz coach Lana Krige said she felt there had been a turnaround in their netball, thanks to a number of first-years who have stepped up to the plate.
“We have managed to build up a strong squad and the new players we have introduced have really contributed well,” she said.
“Because of injuries, we had seven first-years in the 12-player squad for the University Sport South Africa championship in July and that experience has lifted these girls to a new level.”
Krige said another element which had proved important was the assistance she received in a coaching capacity.
“On the one hand we had Stephan Aylward, a rugby coach, helping the players with their movement and fitness.
“And then we had Lee Pote to assist with the players’ conditioning and that meant I could focus purely on the netball aspects.
“This means we have had excellent on-court preparation since the beginning of the year and we are reaping the benefits of that now.”
She felt playing at home would also help the team to do well.
“We really do have one of the best crowds in the country and there is plenty of support because our girls coach at schools in Nelson Mandela Bay, so many of those netball players watch these games.”
The fixtures are:
Sunday: 4.30pm: Stellenbosch v VUT; 6pm: SPAR Madibaz v UWC
Monday: 4.30pm: Stellenbosch v UWC; 6pm: SPAR Madibaz v VUT