Netball goes from strength to strength

JADE VENTER

Keitumetse Mohoje ready to feed the ball to one of her team mates. Photo T Alberts

Manu Kifuabala added vigour to the Saint Michael’s netball season when she was selected to play wing attack for the U.17A Free State Netball Team. She is also the captain of the St Michael’s First Netball Team where she has played n different positions. Manu has an amazing ability to read and direct the game and to get the ball to the goal circle.

Her team admires her speed, stamina, and experience on the court. Her coach, Mrs Liz Venter, says that she also works hard – at practice and during games – and does not merely rely on her natural talent. She motivates the team to be the best they can.

At the All Girls’ Tournament, the St Michael’s teams had to stand their ground against much bigger and stronger schools who had won national championships in the past. The team gave it their all until the end of every match, without losing heart. Umpires and parents of opposing teams complimented the fighting spirit of the players.

The First Team members say that the netball season was ‘short but rewarding’. They beat Navalsig convincingly by 29-18 and demolished Christiaan de Wet with a mighty 33-7. The team also played a very enjoyable friendly match against Landboudal. At the Fichardt Park Sports Day both the First and U.14 netball teams won two out of three games.

Five of the Top Ten First-Team players of 2019 are in Grade 12. That means that next year’s players will have to work very hard to live up to the high standards set by the 2019 First Team. A player like Rethabile Ledwaba leaves big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Grade 11 players like Palesa Tsunke and Keitumetse Mohoje are ready to fill the gap. Palesa is a tough opponent. She is excellent at directing play from the back and a master at overturning the ball. Keitumetse has impressed with the marked improvement in her game. They communicate superbly and complement each other around the circle.

Mrs Venter says it is exciting to see the improvement of the younger players, like the U14 team for example, if one thinks of the future of netball at St Michael’s.  The primary-school netball teams are also working hard. Even the Grade 1 and 2 teams have started playing matches and participated in netball days.  This will definitely have a positive effect on skills and depth in the near future. She believes that netball is a team sport and that SMS ladies enjoy playing the game because they do not only learn skills to use on the court but also skills they can use in the outside world.

Itumeleng Nteko says, ‘Netball practice helps me to get rid of my stress. It is an environment where I can truly be myself with the teachers. It is a place where I feel needed and the commitment keeps me in place. Playing netball teaches me how to manage my time and helps me to better myself’.