The SPAR NMMU Madibaz team went down fighting in their final Varsity Netball game in the seventh round of the 2015 tournament against Pukke at SANDF Kopanelo Hall in Potchefstroom on Monday night.
The team from the North West University claimed a 65-32 victory, and a bonus point, to secure a spot in the semi-final, with the team from Port Elizabeth finishing their campaign in fifth place after what was essentially a quarter-final battle for fourth spot.
Madibaz head coach and former SPAR Proteas player Dumisani Chauke said that although Monday’s game had not gone according to plan, the team had exceeded expectations throughout the tournament.
“We wanted to qualify to qualify for the semi-finals but they game didn’t start off well, we didn’t follow our game plan and it cost us.
“The girls are good enough to compete against teams like Pukke and Maties and they’ve shown it throughout this tournament,” she said.
Chauke added that, from an overall perspective, the tournament had been a success for the Madibaz.
“We exceeded our expectations. The girls worked so hard and it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t tick that last box.”
According to Chauke the Madibaz had experienced a number of stand-out moments throughout the tournament.
“In our first game we gave Maties a run for their money in front of their home crowd, managing them so well that they only beat us by four and we claimed a bonus point.
“Our victories against the University of Johannesburg and seeing our girls compete until the end against Maties and Tuks albeit losing narrowly were some of the positives at this year’s events,” she said.
She added that something to celebrate was claiming the fact that in six out of the seven games that Madibaz played one of the NMMU girls walked away with a player of the match award.
Chauke said that although the PE side was unable to make it past the round-robin portion of the competition, the other teams would need to watch out for the Madibaz when they returned next year.
“Coming into the Varsity series this year no one really expected us to be playing in a match where the last semi-final spot was decided and we will be back with some force as a team to be reckoned with.
“We’re going to go back to the drawing board and come back stronger, ready to push for better results next year.”
She added that Varsity Netball was a fantastic platform for athletes to be seen and supported by the national teams and clubs and that the Madibaz were glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
“Although we might lose a few senior players next year, the five new players we welcomed this year are a great foundation to build on for the season’s to come.
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Issued by: Coetzee Gouws
On behalf of: Madibaz Sport