The University of the Western Cape is seriously busy with recruitment and spectators might see a few faces in their squad next year. So said Janine du Toit, coach of the UWC team in Varsity Netball 2017.
The UWC women secured their first victory in their debut Varsity Netball campaign when they beat Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in Pretoria on Monday night. The score was 67-43 and the Capetonians are now sixth on the log with five points.
“At the moment we don’t have much depth. We are struggling a bit, and have to use who we have. But we are working hard to expand our core of players. We are busy with pioneer work, we want diversity. We will just have to wait and see whether the players we have approached accept the UWC bursaries,” said Du Toit.
It is her second year as UWC’s coach. She was previously a team manager when Marlene Wagner was the coach. She started by coaching the university’s B and C teams and when Wagner retired in 2015, she took over the reins.
Du Toit said Monday’s victory over VUT was a special one and the team has a newfound belief in themselves.
“It was a great achievement in the build-up to our game on Monday against the University of Johannesburg. We have another victory in our sight, we know we can beat them,” said Du Toit. “Even if we lose by less than seven goals and earn a bonus point, we will finish above UJ.”
The Johannesburg students are struggling this season and are yet to win a game. UWC and UJ face each other on Monday at 17:30 at the Coetzenburg Centre in Stellenbosch. Du Toit said some of her players have to “ease” into the competition.
“The atmosphere and hype of Varsity Netball might be intimidating at first. Some players who don’t play that often, are still not 100% at ease.”
Du Toit said some squad members have played for Western Province or the Western Cape in the past, but didn’t attend trials because they couldn’t afford to go to last month’s provincial championships in Durban.
But they do have talented players, said Du Toit. The Bellville students just missed out on promotion to the Super League of the USSA tournament, which was played in Potchefstroom in July.
“We finished first in the Premier League, but lost our playoff against NMU by two goals, which would have given us promotion to the big league,” said Du Toit.
Jaumbuaije Zauana, Cindy Amsterdam, Keesha van Schalkwyk and Sinesipho Willie were included in the USAA squad after the tournament. Speaking of Zauana, better known as “Bytjie”, Du Toit said this tall Namibian goal shooter is a star player and has “an enormous positive influence” on the team.
“She is definitely a huge asset. Her length underneath the goal post is a big factor. The players look up to her. She is a strong player, the centre of it all,” said Du Toit. “The team is much more positive when she is on court.”
Zauana was a standout player for the Western Cape A team at last month’s provincial tournament. This first year finance student is one of the top goal shooters in Varsity Netball 2017.