Madibaz netballers positive ahead of away game

After their recent loss against Tuks, Madibaz captain Nandipha Jack said they were looking to bounce back strongly in their Varsity Netball match against UJ. Photo: Asem Engage

After the team’s first loss in this year’s Varsity Netball campaign, Madibaz captain Nandipha Jack remains positive as they prepare for their game against University of Johannesburg in Pretoria on Sunday.

It is the first game of a doubleheader for the Port Elizabeth team, with them also scheduled to play the University of the Free State the following day.

Madibaz stepped out onto their home courts for the first time on Monday evening buoyed by two early wins against Vaal University of Technology and University of Western Cape in Stellenbosch, but went down 45-24 to University of Pretoria.

The visitors opened the scoring in a high-paced battle and took a lead of 15-6 into the second half before extending that margin en route to a comfortable victory.

Jack said there were a number of positives to take from the loss.

“Monday’s game was just a test of how strong we are,” said the Madibaz leader, who switches between centre and wing attack.

“There are definitely more positive thoughts than negative because Tuks did not get a bonus point. Normally when we play against them we are expected to lose by a bigger margin.”

Both teams now have 10 points after three games, but Madibaz occupy fourth place on the log due to a superior goal difference.

With three training sessions scheduled before the UJ clash, Jack said they were upbeat and had good direction.

The 24-year-old said passing and control were key areas they would focus on after cracks appeared in the later quarters of their home match defeat.

“We are going to fix the little errors we had on Monday. We know when fatigue sets in, we need to play slower and with more control while on the attack.”

She added it was important that they stuck to their own style of play rather than trying to emulate other teams.

With six rounds left – including fixtures against the likes of North-West University and Stellenbosch University – Jack said they were “excited” about what lay ahead.

UJ have had a less than stellar campaign after suffering consecutive losses to NWU-Pukke, Kovsies and Maties and Jack said she hoped they would have similar success.

“We’ve never lost to UJ before in Varsity Netball, so it’s one of the games we should be able to take,” said the fourth-year BTech student. “We’re excited about this one and it should be a good game to watch.”

She said the Johannesburg side was a young squad with little experience in the competition and it would be a good opportunity for Madibaz, who also had a few younger players in their ranks, to find their rhythm after the loss.

The match, which will be televised, starts at 4pm on Sunday.