With the euphoria of winning the Varsity Netball crown for the first time in four years also came the news that three stalwarts over many years will no longer wear the Kovsie dress. Kovsies won the Varsity Netball trophy on Monday for a third time when they defeated Tuks by 63-59 in front of a full stadium in Bloemfontein.
Maryke Coetzee, Khomotso Mamburu and captain Alicia Puren will finish their studies at the University of the Free State. All of them (they are all 23 years of age) have been playing for the Kovsies since 2014 when they were in their first year of studies. Coetzee and Puren study to become a teacher and Mamburu is a law student.
“It is such an honour, the fact that we could do it in front of our home crowd support. We waited very long for this,” said Puren after the match. Since beating Tuks in the Varsity Netball final in 2014, the Kovsies couldn’t reach the final until now. They also lost in the final of the 2015, 2017 and 2018 University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament.
Puren made the switch from goal keeper to goal shooter in July last year and ended with the most number of goals in the competition –313 from 370 attempts at 84.6%.
According to coach Burta de Kock the final power play which she called in the last 10 minutes had a major impact.
In those two minutes during which goals count for double, the Kovsies scored eight goals to four. “We spoke a lot about being calm and keeping position in those two minutes. I’m thankful that I called it at the right moment. The key was to keep calm and not to do anything else than the basics and to keep the call and convert, which we did very well.”
It was a remarkable turnaround for the Kovsies after losing by 10 and 18 goals against Tuks at the USSA in July.
“It was important to help the players understand they have the talent and they don’t have to compare themselves with anyone else. We had to get them to believe in their abilities and for the team to be a unit.”