Madibaz netball stalwarts Melodine Jacobs and Nolusindiso Twani have been selected to represent the South African U21 team at the World Youth Netball Championships in Gaborone, Botswana, in July. It is the second time that Jacobs has received the nod from the national selectors after representing the Baby Proteas at the Africa Netball World Youth Cup Qualifiers in Botswana last year.
“Last year was really exciting for me. I learnt a lot and I could really see an improvement in my netball. “I’ve never played at such a high level, so it was really a big thing,” said the 20-year-old first-year business studies student, who admitted her selection came as a shock after being out of action with an injury since March. “I haven’t been doing any running or fitness work, so, basically, I have three weeks to start working on my form.”
Jacobs, a Port Elizabeth local, said she would take part in several league matches for the SPAR NMMU-Madibaz during this time which would “help me build my strength”. Always willing to learn and improve her game, she said her time with the South African team last year was a great experience.
“While I’m slightly nervous about my selection, I’m excited because I’ve been there before and I now know what to do.” Twani, her 21-year-old varsity teammate, was overwhelmed at the news but excited to make her debut at international level. “I was very emotional,” said the third-year sports management student. “It’s just such an honour.”
Having been named in the provisional squad last August, she said her selection had been unexpected. “It’s the third time that I have been selected for the squad, but I’ve never made the final team,” said the goal-shooter. Twani attended training camps in preparation for July and said she had noticed a marked improvement in her game as well as mentally.
She said the two-week camp had been a gruelling affair designed to give the team an idea of what to expect at the championships and admitted she was “hugely excited, but nervous at the same time”. The Proteas will be up against 19 other teams and have been drawn in Pool B along with Australia, Barbados, Zimbabwe and Singapore.