South Africa’s varsity players established themselves as the best in the world when they returned from the World University Netball Championships in Miami, US, with the gold medal.
In a triumph described by NMMU sports official Melinda Goosen as the best feeling she had experienced, the SA team – which included Madibaz star Jeanie Steyn – defeated Jamaica 43-39 in a tense final.
Goosen, who is president of University Sport South Africa (USSA) netball and headed the SA delegation, said she did not think anything could top the sight of the team winning.
“I’m so proud of the team and coaching staff for what they have achieved,” she said.
Goosen has been president of USSA netball for the past six years and was involved in the initial bid to create the tournament in 2012.
The inaugural event was held in Cape Town, with Goosen heading the local organising committee. That year South Africa made the final, only for Great Britain to pip them in extra time by one point.
The championship is supposed to be held every second year. “In 2014 it was supposed to take place in Jamaica, but unfortunately due to financial problems it was called off,” Goosen said.
“The second world championship was then set for Miami and our focus was always to participate in this event as it is the highest level of achievement for any student netball player.”
Goosen said the team had set the gold medal as their target, but knew it would not be easy. “The standard of competition was very high.
We had several national players in our team, Uganda about five and Jamaica and Namibia about six each.” She said the team had a fairly easy run in the pool matches, but the semifinals and final were much closer.
“We had to fight it out against Uganda in our semifinal and were down in the first two quarters. However, the players pulled back to win convincingly by 10 goals. “The final was a tight affair throughout.
The scoring changed hands many times in the first two quarters before we took a four-goal lead, which we never relinquished. “Jamaica came close on occasions but in the end the players kept their composure.”
Goosen said SA’s strength lay in their teamwork and focus on their goal.
Source: Herald Live