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The fourth edition of Varsity Netball is set to take off on 5 September. UP-Tuks hopes to emulate performances that led to victory in the first edition of the tournament. In 2015 the team failed to make it past the semi-final stage, but this year they hope that having experienced players will help them to progress this year.
The team is captained by Shadine van der Merwe and showcases multiple Protea players, such as Lenize Potgieter, Jeanie Steyn and Izette Lubbe. The highly rated Pretoria team will rely on the same balance of youth and experience that allowed them to attain success in the USSA season.
Perdeby spoke to UP player Tshina Mdau ahead of the season to get an inside look at her thoughts, preparations and hopes for this year’s edition of Varsity Netball.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, how has the team been preparing for the tournament? We have been preparing for Varsity Cup the whole year with every tournament we have participated in [and] matches we have played in as individual players. We will all come together for Varsity Netball as it is the last big tournament we have and we have done everything necessary this year to be ready for this. We are well-conditioned and prepared for this event.
How have your own personal preparations been going? It’s been going well, [I] have had a lot of game time. This is my third time in Varsity Netball, so the difference this time is that I come with more experience, which I only hope leads me to being more effective in my performance with a greater impact for the team.
What is the team looking to improve on to ensure that they have a successful campaign? We are looking to improve on making sure we have a solid finish. We tend to have a lapse in concentration at the end when it matters, so this time we are making sure we finish just as well as we started.
With the inclusion of nine Varsity Netball players in the national squad, how does this inspire you as a player? Varsity Netball is a great platform for young and up and coming players to get identified. I think it solidifies that we are [going] in the right direction to become the next bunch of Protea players. Netball [has] improved in leaps and bounds in trying to get exposure for as many talented players as possible, so seeing myself as a Protea player is an attainable dream to have now.
Photo: Stefan Stander