The battle for sixth place has begun as UJ clash with UWC in the sixth round of the 2017 Varsity Netball competition on Monday night at the Coetzenburg Indoor Centre, in Stellenbosch.
The Auckland Park side have had a disappointing campaign as they have yet to register a point under their tally. A win could only boost the confidence of the Johannesburg squad and could see them possibly climb out of the seventh place spot on the leader board. Meanwhile, the University of Western Cape are looking to secure their next triumph and cement their current sixth place position on the log after a successful match against VUT earned them five valuable points.
UJ coach Leigh-Ann Smal gives her thoughts her squad’s previous performance.
“The past two weekends have definitely not been a UJ weekend, we’ve fallen into a hole and we’ve really struggled to get out. Losing a few of our key players played a huge role especially with their teammates psychologically because they are used to playing with a certain person, then they leave and you need to change and adapt to a new player. I don’t think they were ready for it.”
The retired Protea player said it will be a huge challenge going up against UWC as they are both fighting for maximum points.
“The way UJ has been performing the last few weeks has not really gone our way but I do believe they have a chance because we really haven’t stepped up on the court. We really haven’t showed what we can do so it’s really going to be a huge challenge as both teams would like to have a win against their name.”
Smal said she is encouraging a positive mind set throughout the remaining rounds of the tournament.
“It’s definitely to motivate them to stay positive because I think if you’ve been in a position of losing the way we have, your mind just drops and everything around you is negative and things go wrong. We are trying to get the girls to stay positive and we’ve been working on bringing them together with a few team-building exercises. I think with the run of bad luck we’ve had these past few weeks, they forgot to have fun and to enjoy themselves. At the end of the day, we will be working towards getting a win as well as bringing back the passion for the game in the team.”
The lanky goalkeeper gives an injury update for the squad.
“We have Ntombizodwa Yengwa and Angelique Molefe out for the season due to injury and Prescious (Nhlamulo) Mhlari is out for the season due to personal matters. We have a few niggles in the team but luckily for us, it’s not that they cannot play. We do miss those girls but it’s time for these girls to step up and show us what they’ve got.”
The match will be live on Monday on SuperSport 10 at 17h30.
UJ Team: Jodie Brown, Ntokozo Ramaremisa, Halala Nxumalo (C), Fanisa Mpofu, Tanya Liecterkost, Erin van Wyk. Kim-Roche Holmes, Naledi Peter, Megan Van Lelveld, Intando Gumede, Lebogang Malahlela, Nompumelelo Mbonambi
By Liziwe Mbha