South African International Netballer Phumza Maweni Blossoms Late And Fast By Cheryl Roberts

20 Jul

At a time and age when international and elite sportspeople are either considering retirement or retiring and when sportswomen want to have a baby, that’s when hood netballer and mother Phumza Maweni discovered she was being acknowledged as having the talent to play international netball.

Now a world class netballer, having played in several pro leagues in the UK, it’s hard to believe that Phumza Maweni only started playing senior international netball, just four years ago. It was at aged 29 and mother of a 6 year old son, just after playing one season for the Western Province A team, which she made by chance when the A team’s goal keeper got injured, that Phumza found herself in the South African netball training squad, in the SA Fast Five team and then the SA netball Test team.

Phumza Maweni grew up in the Transkei where she first played netball in the village. She arrived in Cape Town as a young woman and joined a local hood team in Khayalitsha. South African netball was unaware of this young talented netballer because she didn’t play in the provincial leagues and didn’t get provincial selection. ‘We were just playing netball in Khayalitsha amongst ourselves, enjoying community netball. Then I joined another club that was playing provincial league in Belville and I started to get noticed,’ says Phumza. ‘The first year I was asked to attend trials and I thought “what trials is this” and I didn’t go.’

This selection all happened very fast for the already twenty-something Phumza Maweni who didn’t play age group netball as a schoolgirl. Progressing swiftly from the development team to the A team, she made one Western Province team after the other and within two years of playing league netball, she was noticed and selected for the SA netball team.

Four years later, at 33 years old, Phumza Maweni has played for South Africa in Fast Five international competitions, Test matches, world championship and Commonwealth Games. Within her first year of playing for South Africa, she captured a pro contract and went to play for Loughborough in the UK. Her 2018 UK club Severn acknowledge her netball prowess and supporters of the club voted Phumza Maweni ‘supporters player of the season’. Now, at the top of her game, Phumza is a vital component of the SA netball team.

This player’s netball rise to the top from grassroots netball shows the hidden talent in South Africa, especially in towns, rural areas and townships communities. It also shows how sports selection for talent should be cast all over the country, in different leagues and playing structures because the gems are out there waiting to be discovered.

I asked Phumza Maweni some questions about her netball life and she gave me these answers…..


Q: How did you start playing netball?

Phumza Maweni: I was watching one of my friends playing a friendly game at school in Mceula village in Cala. I asked if she could take me with the next day when they go to training. While I was watching them train, the teacher who was their coach approached me and asked me to join the team. I never looked back since then. At the time, netball was a woman only sport and I was delighted to take part in the sport. It was fun.

Q: Who has influenced your netball development from grassroots to international netball?

Phumza Maweni: Firstly, I motivate myself to be humble as a person and encourage myself. I like to involve myself with positive people. I allowed everyone around me to feel free to criticise my game to allow me to grow as best a player, I could. My dad played a big role in my netball career, always supporting me and helped me to take care of my son so that I could concentrate on the sport. I acknowledged that God gave me talent. I developed that talent into skill and use that skill to reach international level.

How old are you?

Phumza Maweni: I am turning 34 in September

Q: When did you start playing provincial and international netball?

Phumza Maweni: I started play serious netball at the age of 18 years. I joined a local club in Khayalitsha called Vultures netball, where my netball life began. The team joined the league in Bellville and that same year I got selected for the Western Province team. That was in 2012.  And in 2013-2014 I was promoted to WP B team which represented the province in Rustenburg.  After playing with the WP B team in the Boland tournament, the A team goal keeper got injured and I was called to fill her shoes for the same tournament. Our WP A team won gold, that year. Then I moved to WP A team. I got selected onto the SA Proteas Squad that same year in 2014.

Q: What positions do you play?

Phumza Maweni: Positions I playing are GK/GD

Q: Who is your competitive\toughest opponent?

Phumza Maweni: My toughest opponent international is Haniele Fowler. She’s such an amazing athlete; has a huge strong body for netball. In SA I would say Lenize Potgieter. She is very smart and quick to take a shot.

Q: How do you like playing pro netball in the UK?

Phumza Maweni: It’s so competitive. And I get to play amongst the best netballers in the world. I like to take a challenge to learn different styles of play, and different cultures, environment atmosphere to get the best experience.

Q: How much longer would you still like to play international netball?

Phumza Maweni: I can’t say much for now. I am still thinking about it. You will be surprised. But I think it’s time to build a relationship with my son. I cannot say exactly when I will take my career as a journey, with no destination. I cannot predict the future. I am happy to take part in the sport of netball right now.

Q: Do you have corporate/personal sponsor?

Phumza Maweni: No. I don’t have personal sponsor.Q: What is your training schedule for you pro club in the UK?

Phumza Maweni:  A typical training week in the UK: we train almost every day 6 days per week, twice a day. We do 2 days with the team, 2 days gym, and 2 days individual training.

Q: What fixtures are coming up for you this year?

Phumza Maweni: I still have some big events coming ahead with the quad series, Diamond Challenge and a lot of training camps preparing for World Cup  2019.

Q: What would you still like to achieve in  netball? Would you like to coach after your playing days?

Phumza Maweni: I  would like to win a medal/trophy or defeat one of the big teams like Australia or New Zealand, with the Proteas.  About coaching: Yes, I would like to do development coaching, especially the young netballers in rural areas, to motivate them to continue playing sport.

Q: Your fav food?

Phumza Maweni: I like African food/meat is my favorite.

Music, I love God /I like Gospel music.

Q: What improvements would you like to see in SA netball to improve the game?

NSA is trying by all means to bring netball to the people. I think NSA should use the Proteas (the national team) to drive development in all provinces. To bring more youngsters to play with international players and share the experience while we are still active.

Q: Your highlights and achievements in netball?

Phumza Maweni: Representing team SA in Commonwealth Games 2018, playing in the league in the UK, and awarded as PP of the season 2018 for Severn Stars.


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