The NMMU Madibaz opened their Varsity Netball account with a convincing 45-16 win over the University of Cape Town in the Mother City on Sunday.

The victory put the team from Port Elizabeth into third position (based on goal difference) in the standings after the opening weekend of the six-week tournament.

The Madibaz have their heart set on retaining their top-four spot after reaching the semi-finals in last year’s inaugural competition.

Madibaz coach Dumisani Chauke said she was very happy with her team’s overall performance.

“It was an awesome start to our campaign and a great win for the girls,” said Chauke. “They played very hard.”

The former Proteas player said her squad had been disappointed however at falling short of the 50 points required to get the bonus point.

“That was our goal and unfortunately we didn’t manage that. But we’re still in the building phase and we’re only going to get better as time goes on.”

Chauke said her team had identified a few key areas that required attention and would be working on those aspects ahead of the upcoming matches.

Although her side had taken the game to the opposition from the outset, Chauke said their offensive play still needed some work.

“At some points we would play a centre pass for up to two minutes. I just think we need smoother attacking movements, going forward and taking the ball through to the circle.”

She praised goal attack Bavu Matyumza for the vital role she had played in their shooting circle.

“She played very well and only missed about two shots in the whole game.”

After leading 22-9 at half-time, the visitors gave their hosts no quarter – conceding only seven points and chalking up another 23 goals in the second half.

Chauke said the Madibaz’s defence, which featured current national star Zanele Vimbela, had been outstanding throughout.

“Our defence turned so many balls and Zanele played a critical role in that.”

The goalkeeper was awarded the FNB Player of the Match for her efforts.

Chauke said her team would now regroup, work on a few things and come back even stronger for this weekend’s fixtures.

“We’re playing three home games back to back – it’s going to be a critical weekend.”

The Madibaz take on Vaal University of Technology at the NMMU South Campus courts on Saturday (3.15pm), followed by Maties on Sunday (5.15pm) and Tuks on Monday (7pm).
Varsity Netball

The NMMU Madibaz’s Hlumisa Sithonga challenges for the ball during their Varsity Netball clash with UCT in Cape Town on Sunday. The Madibaz claimed a convincing 45-16 win. Photo: Thys Lombard

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