Karla Mostert wants to see more South African netball players on the world stage
Karla Mostert started playing netball at the tender age of eight, at Laërskool Hennopspark. Mostert qualified as a dietician at the University of the Free State (Kovsies) but more notable were her achievements on the netball court during her time at the Kovsies. She was in her fourth year, in 2013, when Varsity Netball was launched as part of Varsity Sports.
Kovsies would successfully defend their title in 2014, after winning the inaugural Varsity Netball trophy a year prior. Mostert played an integral part during Kovsies’ domination of Varsity Netball and was awarded Player of the Tournament for two consecutive years – in 2014 and 2015. The 27-year-old represented the Bloemfontein tertiary institute for three years. Mostert could no longer participate as a player, according to the age limit rule as set forth by Varsity Sports.
She has recently returned from Australia where she had a very successful first season for the Sunshine Coast Lightning. The Queensland side won the Grand Final in the Australian Super Netball league and Mostert was awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Player) for her performance during the final.
“I have always believed in myself,” said Mostert. “At first it was difficult to adjust to hearing people say that I will become a great player. A teacher at Laërskool Hennopspark told me once that I would play for South Africa. I did not think that I would but I always worked hard at being the best I could be.”
Mostert had to miss the domestic league due to her being in Australia while the local league was underway. She’s had to juggle and prioritise not only her schedule but also her time spent with loved ones. Having such a busy timetable, Mostert believes in finding and maintaining a balance between her netball and family time.
“The fortunate thing for me is that most of my family and friends are in Bloemfontein or Pretoria, so it’s not that I cannot make time to see or spend time with them, but it is very important to grow and nurture these relationships. My fiancé and I often take spontaneous road trips, exploring small towns in and around the Free State. We love learning about the rich history that these towns have and also discovering nice restaurants in these areas.”
The Proteas player hopes that netball in the country will be able to receive the same attention and resources that the more mainstream sporting codes are enjoying. After spending time in Australia she experienced a level of professionalism and support from the governing bodies that she would like to see materialise within South Africa.
“We work just as hard as some of the top sports athletes. We get up early, train hard and sacrifice a lot to be able to compete at an international level. I think that we have the potential to produce many more great players, but the lack of funding for these players makes it difficult for players to play netball fulltime once they have graduated from university.”
The two-time Varsity Netball Player of the Tournament affirms that hard work pays off and that believing in yourself is key to a successful career in any sport. Having a solid support structure begins at home and the netball star attributes much of her netball success to the support of her parents. She also believes that Varsity Netball gave her that much-needed platform to take her game to the next level.
“Never give up on yourself and always believe in yourself. My parents have been an amazing support throughout my career. They have always supported my decisions. It is very important to surround yourself with people who believe in you as much as you do. Varsity Netball has opened up more doors for me and also allowed more people the opportunity to see me play, which was a great experience, but more importantly it helped my career.”
Varsity Netball starts on 27 August 2017 with opening weekend matches in both Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch.