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Former NMU player to take on role as head coach

Jeanie Steyn


The tall, ever-smiling, and resilient netball defender Jeanie Steyn, is set to step into big boots at the Nelson Mandela University's Madibaz netball club.

A former NMU player and current Fast Five National player and two-time captain, Steyn hopes to pick up where the legendary Lana Krige left off as head coach of the university's first netball team.

"It is extremely big shoes to fill but I am passionate about the advancement of netball at the university," she says.

Reflecting on NMU's past Varsity Netball campaign, which was arguably the toughest season yet, she says, as management, they are already looking at ways in which players could be encouraged to play at their best consistently.

That devastating loss to the newbies, the University of the Witwatersrand in August, had a ripple effect on their games for the rest of the season.

Steyn said they were working with sports scientists and psychologists to get the players to perform at the Madibaz standard.

NMU, which produced eight national players in the 2013 season, has not been able to produce one since.

"Our goal is to perform at the level of the other university and we'll get there".

Steyn, who recently returned from Christchurch, New Zealand where she donned the green and gold in the Fast Five World Series, says leading the country was an honour.

"It is something special, being trusted by the coaching staff and the rest of the team."

But, Steyn says being the captain was not as much hard work for her as the team was easy to manage.

Speaking on the disappointing 4th place finish this year compared to the silver medal last year, Steyn says that them missing out on a podium spot does not mean they were not competitive.

"It was small mistakes that cost us in one or two games. We have the potential and the hunger, and I am sure next year the nation can do better."

Speaking about how the national team can improve in the future, Steyn says South Africa just lacks opportunities.

"Most of the teams we were up against are already playing in professional leagues, and we were beaten on experience. When we were one-on-one, we were contesting very well."

Commenting on the state of netball in the country, Steyn says players need to be empowered by showing them how, and what to do when training and making the tournaments more competitive by ensuring that netball is accessible to all players.

She also spoke about the importance of sponsorships in women's sports and the impact they can make on the lives of athletes.

"We all saw how the sponsorships contributed to the success and the overall confidence of the Netball World Cup. One player who is contracted by Netball South Africa managed to build a house for her mother and by doing so, she has a safe space where she can train. It then becomes beneficial to all".

Earlier this week, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, announced the establishment of a panel to look into establishing a professional netball league in the country.