Inspiring the Next Generation of Netball Stars

Author: Themba Kriger
Photos: Matthew Wareley

With humble beginnings in 2017, Sundowns Netball Club started as a group of determined young individuals playing on improvised courts with no proper facilities in the streets of Delft.Β 

Their growth journey has been remarkable, evolving from a single team to an empowering club with six teams catering to different age groups. Today, they stand proudly as a force to be reckoned with, striving to nurture talent and empower young athletes from their community.

“We started with one team, I think it was around eight players at that time,” recalls one of the founding members and head coach of Sundowns Netball Club, Siphesihle Lando. From these modest roots, the club has flourished into a home for young athletes of varying ages. 

The club now boasts teams ranging from under-nine and under-11 to under-13, under-15, and a senior team, with a roster of 78 players. This growth is a testament to the club’s dedication to providing a nurturing platform for talent development.

“We didn’t even have netball poles; we were just using a circle [on the ground]; that’s how we played,” shares their Assistant Coach, Arthur Titi, about the early days when facilities were lacking. 

However, Sundowns Netball Club’s journey has been marked by overcoming obstacles and embracing progress. The club’s determination eventually paid off, securing a netball court that became their base of operations for growth. Additionally, they successfully encouraged parents to support their daughters’ dreams, ensuring they had the resources to travel to matches and tournaments in areas beyond Delft.

Siphesihle takes immense pride in the remarkable achievements of the players. “This year, five players were selected for provincial colors in schools. Last year, a player went to Gauteng to represent Western Province schools.” Six players who do most of their training with the club are also set to represent their schools at the city level, including 4 for the U13 Cape Town primary school netball and 2 for the U17 Cape Town high school netball. The club has also clinched league championships in various age divisions, a testament to their commitment to instilling a winning mentality in their athletes, both on and off the court.

To help support the club, ikeja has sponsored the teams with new uniforms and Wi-Fi, which the girls eagerly await. Siphesihle noted that the uniforms are beautiful and will instill pride in the players and boost their confidence before they get on the courts. β€œWhen you feel good with something you’re wearing, you feel good when you play, so the uniform is perfect. We can’t wait to get it so that we can show off!”

“With the Wi-Fi, it will be effortless to register the new players that join us,” adds Arthur. With reliable internet access, the club can streamline processes, including player registration, making it easier for new talent to join and flourish within its ranks.

Sundowns Netball Club’s motto, #SiyaPhambilii, which means “we’re going forward,” embodies their spirit of determination and resilience. “It’s about winning their mentality. If we can win before we hit the court, that’s where it starts,” shares Siphesihle. With each player striving to overcome obstacles and take their game to greater heights, this rallying cry fuels their commitment to continuous improvement.

“Our goal as the club is to win more girls to come into the club and let them go to the provinces to play.” Looking ahead, Sundowns Netball Club is focused on expanding its presence in provincial and national arenas.Β 

Their unwavering goal is to witness all their talented players proudly don the colors of their respective representative teams. The club seeks to inspire more young girls to join its ranks, nurturing them as netball players and well-rounded individuals focusing on academics and personal growth.

Sundowns Netball Club’s incredible journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and community support. As they rise from the streets to sporting excellence, they are beacons of hope for aspiring netball players in their community and beyond. 

Through dedication, hard work, and a shared vision, Sundowns Netball Club has become more than just a team; it has become a symbol of triumph and inspiration, proving that dreams can come true when nurtured with determination.