SPAR Madibaz goalkeeper Jeanie Steyn said the confidence gained from their early success in the Varsity Netball tournament in Stellenbosch over the weekend was something that would be invaluable going forward.
The Port Elizabeth team kicked off their campaign with a convincing 71-25 win against Vaal University of Technology on Sunday and Steyn said the next day’s 51-43 triumph against University of Western Cape served to further cement their self-belief.
“You can never say there are easy games in this tournament but this last weekend was good for the team to settle and see what works and what doesn’t ahead of the tougher games,” she said.
Steyn was awarded player of the match for her performance against VUT, an achievement she said she could not have accomplished without her “wingwoman”, goal defender Hlumisa Sithonga.
“I share the circle with Hlumisa and without her I don’t think I would have received the prize. It’s a reward that reflects on both of us, not just me.”
The second-year visual arts student said she believed the team were on the right path to achieve their goal of finishing in the top four and were eager to give spectators an exciting show.
“At the end of the competition it’s going to be very competitive. This season is one of those years that everyone has a chance,” she said.
“We’re fighters and I think that’s something people don’t expect. We’ll be fighting right until the end.”
The former Protea player, who turned 23 this week, said she felt the team’s Achilles heel was their lack of confidence.
“We’re a team with potential, but we don’t always believe in ourselves. I think it was good for us to start on a high so we can carry this mindset through the whole competition.”
The key, according to the former Pretoria resident, would be to stick to the basics and their own style of play.
Steyn, a Monument High School alumnus, said they have a quick, sharp style of play that was hard to defend against.
“We play a different type of netball and I think this is our greatest strength. If we stick to this style then we can definitely compete against the tougher teams.”
The Madibaz will have the advantage of playing on their home courts against Tuks on Monday (September 4) and Pukke on September 18.
“One of our toughest games is next week, but it’s good to be playing them at home. The players know all the spectators will have our backs and if you have the supporters cheering for you then it always boosts confidence.”
Monday’s match will be televised but Steyn said this had little impact on their approach to the game as they were used to the extra hype.
“I think it’s a nice addition to everything. We just feel it’s a great opportunity for us to learn and play in that type of environment.”