Archive | January, 2020

Photo Essay: Grassroots Women’s Cricket In Durban By Cheryl Roberts

28 Jan

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On a summer’s Sunday, sunshine shining day, after doing an early morning hike, I opted to watch a women’s cricket club match in Durban during the first month of January.
Played as a women’s league match of KZN Coastal Cricket, the encounter was between DHS from Durban North and Lindelani from the INK District in Durban. I was interested in the match as it should have featured two international cricketers, Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba from Lindelani and I wanted to get some newest photographic content of them before they left with the South African women’s team on the tour of New Zealand.
When I arrived at the ground in Durban North, Lindelani was fielding and DHS was batting. Lindelani fielded a young team of mostly girl cricketers; most of them playing age group girl cricket for KZN Coastal. And they had the one international Nondumiso Shangase turning up to help guide the team’s younger and smaller enthusiastic cricketers. DHS had some of the youngest players in South African women’s club cricket in 10 year old Haadia and 11 year old Palesa, including several 20 somethings and a very passionate-about-women’s cricket 40 something player.

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Lindelani CC’s players stay within the INK District in Durban; that’s Lindelani, Inanda, Ntuzuma. They also school in the area and play their cricket in the hood. DHS players come from all over Durban, from Bluff, Clare Estate, Durban North and other areas. Also, in the DHS team were hijab-attired Muslim cricketers who choose to play competitive sport in hijab. Their team mates fondly refer to them as ‘Ninja’. And there’s a qualified 25 year old electrician, who plays provincial cricket for KZN Coastal, also in the team. She took a hat-trick in the match, that day.
I thought I would hang around at the ground for about an hour or so but I found myself quite taken in with the game and saw it until its finish.
DHS won the match that Lindelani was expected to win; given that Lindelani was higher placed on the league log.
It was fascinating to see the girls bowling and taking wickets and losing their wicket and walking in to bat. And, also awesome to see the older senior players in both teams, cheering on the girls and encouraging them and congratulating them when they took wickets and scored runs.
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At this grassroots/club level women’s cricket match, I saw girls just starting out playing cricket, enjoying being in the game. Then there were those playing a few years already and already being selected to represent their provincial team. And amongst them all was the international player Nondumiso Shangase from Inanda who started playing cricket when she was 17 years old and five years later, in 2019 got selected to play for South Africa.
This is show I captured the moments when two women’s cricket teams turned up on a Sunday morning in Durban to play a league match……

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Photo Essay: Grassroots Women’s Cricket In Durban By Cheryl Roberts

28 Jan

On a summer’s Sunday, sunshine shining day, after doing an early morning hike, I opted to watch a women’s cricket club match in Durban during the first month of January.
Played as a women’s league match of KZN Coastal Cricket, the encounter was between DHS from Durban North and Lindelani from the INK District in Durban. I was interested in the match as it should have featured two international cricketers, Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba from Lindelani and I wanted to get some newest photographic content of them before they left with the South African women’s team on the tour of New Zealand.
When I arrived at the ground in Durban North, Lindelani was fielding and DHS was batting. Lindelani fielded a young team of mostly girl cricketers; most of them playing age group girl cricket for KZN Coastal. And they had the one international Nondumiso Shangase turning up to help guide the team’s younger and smaller enthusiastic cricketers. DHS had some of the youngest players in South African women’s club cricket in 10 year old Haadia and 11 year old Palesa, including several 20 somethings and a very passionate-about-women’s cricket 40 something player.
Lindelani CC’s players stay within the INK District in Durban; that’s Lindelani, Inanda, Ntuzuma. They also school in the area and play their cricket in the hood. DHS players come from all over Durban, from Bluff, Clare Estate, Durban North and other areas. Also, in the DHS team were hijab-attired Muslim cricketers who choose to play competitive sport in hijab. Their team mates fondly refer to them as ‘Ninja’. And there’s a qualified 25 year old electrician, who plays provincial cricket for KZN Coastal, also in the team. She took a hat-trick in the match, that day.
I thought I would hang around at the ground for about an hour or so but I found myself quite taken in with the game and saw it until its finish.
DHS won the match that Lindelani was expected to win; given that Lindelani was higher placed on the league log.
It was fascinating to see the girls bowling and taking wickets and losing their wicket and walking in to bat. And, also awesome to see the older senior players in both teams, cheering on the girls and encouraging them and congratulating them when they took wickets and scored runs.
At this grassroots/club level women’s cricket match, I saw girls just starting out playing cricket, enjoying being in the game. Then there were those playing a few years already and already being selected to represent their provincial team. And amongst them all was the international player Nondumiso Shangase from Inanda who started playing cricket when she was 17 years old and five years later, in 2019 got selected to play for South Africa.
This is show I captured the moments when two women’s cricket teams turned up on a Sunday morning in Durban to play a league match…….

From Hood Cricket To The World Cup: Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkululeko Mlaba’s Cricket Journey By Cheryl Roberts

23 Jan

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In South Africa’s T20 women’s cricket world cup team were selected two cricketers from Durban. They are from Durban and play for Lindelani cricket club and for KZN Coastal women’s team. They are Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleo Mlaba.
Both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko were attracted to cricket because they went to the cricket field to see what was going on when their brothers went to play. And soon they were batting and bowling just like the boys and young men cricketers at Lindelani CC; taking up their space on the cricket field.
That was over 5 years ago. Nondumiso came from Inanda and Nonkuleleko came from Ntuzuma. Soon they were making up Lindelani CC’s women’s team and playing in the KZN Coastal women’s cricket league. And not long after that, they were getting selected into the KZN girls teams.
Nondumiso played for KZN Coastal u19 girls team within her first year of playing cricket. Thereafter, she was soon selected into the KZN Coastal women’s team. In 2018, she became the first black African woman cricketer to captain KZN Coastal and the first black African woman cricketer to score a century in interprovincial competition for KZN.
Nonkuleleko played for KZN Coastal u16 girls team and then for the u19 girls team at the SA youth weeks. And she got selected into the women;s team whilst still a girl cricketer.
Both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko got called up to the national academy, with Nondumiso called up in 2017 and Nonkuleleko called up in 2018. Also in 2019, Nondumiso got selected for the SA women’s cricket team for the home series against Pakistan and for the SA Emerging team for the home series against Sri Lanka. Nonkululeko also got to play for the SA Emerging team against Sri Lanka. And then came the big selection of both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko for the away series against India, late in 2019.
In 2020, both the players from Lindelani CC were named in the SA team to play New Zealand away. And on the day of departure for New Zeland, SA’s T20 world cup team was announced. And both Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba were named in the T20 world cup team.

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It was indeed a journey, from hood cricket to world cup cricket, for Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba. Both cricketers found sports joy on the cricket field after their mothers passed away and, as they searched for something to fill voids in their lives, they found happiness in cricket.
They worked hard at training with their coach and, once they saw their potential surfacing, they stepped up their cricket ambitions and wanted to play international cricket. Today, both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko have achieved that feat. They went to township-based schools and stayed at their township cricket club.
Now it’s about consolidating their place in the SA women’s cricket team, scring the runs, taking the wickets, being sharp in the field and helping SA to be one of the world’s top women’s cricket teams.
When they not touring with the national team and are back home in Durban, they turn out for provincial training with the kZN Coastal squad and play league matches for Lindelani CC where they guide and encourage the girl cricketers at the club. Both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko are role models and mentors at Lindelani CC where the girl cricketers are inspired by the achievements of their team mates.
“I’m very excited bout my world cup selction’, says Nondumiso Shangase. “I’ve been working hard at my cricket, dreaming of playing for South Africa. And now making it into the T20 World Cup team is one of my dreams coming true. I want to score runs and take wickets for SA.’
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Nonkululeko Mlaba is amazed at how its been happening so fast for her over the past year. “Just the other day I was in the KZN u19 girls team. Then i went to the naional academy as a late call up and soon I was in the SA team to India and now selcted for the World Cup. Wow. Its all too much for me,’ says Nonkuleleko. ‘I know its a long road ahead, that I’m still young and learning about international cricket. I want to develop into a world class cricketer and be a good player for my SA team.’
Cricketers Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba have shown that sports development in communities and hoods is vital and should be prioritised. If cricket development wasn’t introduced to the Lindealni community, the talents of Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba would have never been known.

Langa’s Springbok Rugby Player Sinazo Mcatshulwa Is Focussed On Playing In The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup By Cheryl Roberts

22 Jan

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Sinazo Mcatshulwa started playing rugby at primary school in Langa on the Cape Flats. Today, over ten years later, Sinazo Mcatshulwa represents her club Busy Bees, her provincial team Western Province and has played for South Africa in both 15’s and 7’s national teams.
23 year old Sinazo Mcatshulwa is considered one of South Africa’s talented and pivotal young women rugby players. She’s a treasure to both her provincial team WP and national team SA.
Now recovering from an injury sustained late last year, Sinazo Mcatshulwa is determined to be fit and strong on the rugby field. After all, Sinazo’s sports dream is to represent South Africa at the 2021 rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publisher, Cheryl Roberts, we learn more about Sinazo Mcatshulwa, the exciting rugby player from Langa.

Q: How did you start playing rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I started playing rugby at primary school in Langa in Cape Town. My teacher asked me if I can play rugby because at that time I was in sports already, playing hockey and netball in primary school. Then I said ‘yes I can try it’. And that is how I started playing rugby.
Q: You got injured at a crucial stage of the SA interprovincial championship, last year. How is your injury rehabilitation coming along?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: Yeah, I’m much better than before because now I’m doing my rehabilitation that started in December already. So I’m getting there. At the moment with my rehab, I don’t feel any pain, just stiffness. So we fixing the stiffness now; then after that’s gone I will start running.
Q: Before the injury, you were a standout player for Western Province. You also got selected for SA 7’s team. And you would have been selected for the Springboks home matches series. You must have been disappointed with the injury? How have you sustained a positive mindset thru it all?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: It was tough knowing I was going to miss the internationals and Tests at home in South Africa. But I just told myself to relax and accept that I’m injured. So I allowed the doctors to fix my knee so that this year there’s nothing that will stand in front of me and being on the rugby field, playing the sport I love. I want to come back into both teams – 7’s and 15’s – and be strong.

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Q: Tell us more about your selections and representations in rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: My rugby selections started in 2010 when I got selected got the under 16 Western Province girls team. Thereafter, I didn’t stop playing and training. Then I got selected for the under 20 SA team. That was in 2013. After that selection, I decided to work hard at my rugby because I wanted to play in the senior women’s Western Province team. That selection was realised when I wasn’t yet 20 years old. I started playing for the WP team in 2015. A few years ago I got my call up to the national training squad. Then I made the end of year tour to Europe in 2018. I got selected for the Springbok team that played in the Africa Cup and qualified for the World Cup. In 2019, I also got my SA 7’s team selection. We played in a tournament in Europe. I was disappointed when I got injured last year, as it ruled me out of Springbok selection.
Q: What is your training schedule like?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I’m at the rehab stage, after my injury. In the morning, I’m doing weights. Later in the day, I’m doing my rehabilitation and cardio.
Q: How old are you? How long have you been playing rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I’m 23 years old; turned 23 in December. I’ve been playing rugby from primary school, since 2009.
Q: What do you like about playing rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I don’t wanna lie…..I like the fitness training, then ball skills. Then on the field I like to tackle.
Q: What would you like to achieve from rugby over the next 3 years?Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I want to represent South Africa at the 2021 rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

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Q: Would you like to play pro rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: Yes. I would like to play pro rugby outside of SA. Playing in New Zealand would be great.
Q: Do you prefer 15’s or 7’s rugby?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: Both 15’s and 7’s.
Q: What would you like to see being done for women’s rugby in SA?
Sinazo Mcatshulwa: I would like to see more young girls playing Springbok rugby. And also to see the players working harder so we can achieve much more as rugby players.

Phumza Maweni Thrives On Playing Top Drawer Netball By Cheryl Roberts

19 Jan

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At 35 years old and a sportswoman mother, Phumza Maweni is still one of the world’s top netballers. That’s not all! Phumza Maweni is improving her netball and retirement isn’t something she has finalised with herself. She’s still available to play for South Africa.
So the good stuff is that world class netballer Phumza Maweni, still playing at the top of the game, is intent on improving and becoming a better netballer.
In this Q and A interview, I asked Phumza Maweni the questions and she gave the answers; giving us all the information we wanted to know about her and netball as she enters the 2020 season.

Q: How have you enjoyed your first pro season in Australia?
Phumza Maweni: It was fantastic. I really enjoyed myself on and off the court.
Q: After the World Cup, were you feeling re-energised?
Phumza Maweni: The was very little time to recover between the World Cup and Suncorp League in Australia. But we were fortunate that the franchise organised all things that would help us to quickly recover after a gruelling WC and be ready for our pro league games.

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Q: You recently committed to playing another season in pro netball in Australia. What influenced your decision?
Phumza Maweni: I think the values of franchise netball taught me a lot of being a better athlete and as a person.
Q: How far away to retirement are you? Will you be taking it season by season?
Phumza Maweni: I haven’t come to that decision yet about retiring.
Q: And playing for South Africa? Will you be selective with your internationals for SA or play all of them when selected?
Phumza Maweni: I am still in the squad. If I get an opportunity to play and I am available, then I definitely will play for SA.
Q: How have you been enjoying your time in SA when you’ve been back home?
Phumza Maweni: It’s always nice to be back home and see my family and friends. I really had a great time in December holidays, especially with my son.
Q: What are you expecting from your SA team in the forthcoming international series to be played in England?
Phumza Maweni: We are all looking forward to the Vitality Cup in England and for South Africa to perform well and win.
Q: You were selected ‘player of the match’ in the last Test: SA v England in Cape Town? How are you managing to play top drawer netball at 35 years old?
Phumza Maweni: I’m sure it’s to do with all my experience attained from playing elite netball and also, I am working very hard at netball training everyday.
Q: What do you still want to achieve from netball as an elite player?
Phumza Maweni: To learn more skills that will help grow and benefit our defensive structure.
Q: And your netball ambitions for 2020?
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Phumza Maweni: To win the Vitality Series in the UK and Suncorp League in Australia.
Q: What is your training schedule as a pro netball player?
Phumza Maweni: I am typically training 6 days of the week, doing 3 gym sessions and 3 court sessions, daily.
Q: Can SA become the best netball team in the world?
Phumza Maweni: Yes, of course. SA can do better. I think now at this stage we are strong enough mentally and physically to compete against the best.

Teenage Springbok Anacadia Minnaar Wants To Play Pro Rugby By Cheryl Roberts

16 Jan

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Rugby Player Anacadia Minnaar From Middelburg In The Karoo Is One Of South Africa’s Talented Rugby Players. In this Q and A interview in the series ‘South Africa’s Sportsgirl Talent In Conversation With Cheryl Roberts’, Teenager Anacadia Minnar tells us about her participation in rugby.

In 2019, whilst in her matric year at school in Middelburg in the Karoo, Anacadia Minnaar got selected for the Eastern Province women’s rugby team, the SA u20 women’s rugby team and the women Springboks team. It was indeed an exhilarating and memorable year of selections and representations for the teenage girl rugby player.

So inspired is Anacadia Minnaar by her achievements in rugby, that she wants to be a professional rugby player. But her immediate ambitions are to work hard at her rugby and hopefully make the Springbok team to play in the 2021 women’s rugby world cup. And another ambition for Anacadia Minnaar is to play sevens rugby.

I asked Anacadia Minnaar the questions and she gave us more insight into her life as a rugby player……..

Q: How did you start playing rugby?

Anacadia Minnaar: I started playing rugby because I went to the field practicing my athletics and then they (from the rugby team) asked me to join them on the rugby field and I fell in love with the game.

Q: What do you enjoy about playing rugby?

Anacadia Minnaar: I enjoy the team training and the team work and I like when my team wins. And I also like my team’s sisterhood.

Q: What have been your achievements as a rugby player?

Anacadia Minnaar: uhmm…. When I started playing I didn’t think that I would go so far so quickly like being a Springbok in my matric year because I didn’t know anything about rugby and I sort of told myself no ‘No, I won’t make it far….’.

Thus far my achievements are playing for u/16 Eastern Province team twice, u/18 EP team twice and I was the captain of the u18 team, one year.

I played u/20 YTC Games for Eastern Province and I played in the u/20 SA team against Zimbabwe. I also play in the Eastern Province senior women’s rugby team and I played in the Springbok team against Scotland.

Q: In 2019, you played for EP women’s team, SA u20 and Springboks. That was amazing representation. Tell us more about your 2019 playing year?

Anacadia Minnaar: The year 2019 was hard because I had to put in a lot of hardwork as a matric learner and as a rugby player.

I had to give my best to make it to the u/20 SA team and the senior EP team and the Springbok team.

So, 2019 was a tough year but I managed to pull through at the end and am proud of myself. Now that I know what I can achieve, I hope to do much better and improve more in 2020.

Q: And you were doing matric, and passed matric and played for the Springboks. How did you manage it all?

Anacadia Minnaar: I was struggling a lot and somehow I had to come up with a plan and make decisions about my school work and my rugby training.

So I told myself that I should concentrate more on school and practice less because being in matric required my attention. But that was a big challenge because practicing rugby was very important to me and it’s something that I love a lot.

So it was hard because I wanted to do my best in both my school work and rugby, but at the end, only one had my full attention and that was rugby. School also had my attention but not as how I gave to my sports.

Q: What would you like to achieve from playing rugby?

Anacadia Minnaar: Something that I really want to do is to play sevens rugby and I know that I know that I will have to work hard to achieve what I am dreaming about.

Q: What will you be doing after matric?

Anacadia Minnaar: I don’t really know at the moment but I will send my CV to shops here in Middelburg to see when I can get a work so I can go and study further and if that’s not going to work then I will work for my parents and give back what they gave me.

Q: Would you like to play pro rugby?

Anacadia Minnaar: I would like to because I feel like I hav the talent but that I know I should work hard to get there as a professional player.

Q: What is your training schedule as a rugby player?

Anacadia Minnaar: I jog in the mornings and afternoons with my teammates and coach. Then we go to the field for some fitness and some skill practicing and some contact training.

Q: Are you aiming to be in the Springbok team and play in the rugby World Cup in 2021?

Anacadia Minnaar: I am. I am.

Uhm, but I also know that we are a lot of ladies that are in the women’s squad and not everyone is going to make it to the World Cup.

So, if I am not going to make it then I will just have to work harder to make it for the next world cup and rectify my mistakes that will make me go to the 2025 World Cup with my sisters. It will be heartbroken and stuff if I don’t make the world cup team but you have to face up to the disappointment of non-selection. If you didn’t train hard and if you didn’t give 110% then don’t think that you will make it to the world cup because only hardworking people can make that team and for those that’s been working hard and aren’t selected then just work a bit harder and let that be our inspiration.

What do you do besides playing rugby?

Anacadia Minnaar: I was playing netball as well but our netball activities have stopped. I don’t know why but I am going to try and get me something to do for when I have nothing to do like reading or so.

Q: Were you famous at school and in your community when you became a Springbok in your matric year?

Anacadia Minnaar: A little bit yes. Uhm…. some of the people ask when I’m leaving to go and play then I say ‘no, I will be called if I need to go out of town’. A lot of people at school and in my community know that I am playing rugby for Eastern Province and Springbok.

What Will SA Rugby Do For Women’s Rugby In 2020? By Cheryl Roberts

14 Jan

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Severe gender inequalities exist in rugby in South Africa when it comes to competitions, sponsorship, national contracts, payments, international matches that SA Rugby offers women’s and men’s rugby. In a sport that is horrendously male-dominated, it’s men’s rugby that gets all the money, applause and attention. Women’s rugby gets the leftovers, the little handouts here and there. And its always about there being no money for women’s rugby because sponsors don’t ‘want to fund women’s rugby’.

So what does SA Rugby have in store for women’s rugby starting in 2020, given that girls rugby is growing in popularity and women’s rugby teams need much more international competition?

Now that South Africa has qualified for the 2021 women’s rugby world cup, after last playing in a world cup in 2014, the women Springbok team needs more international play so they can be at the world cup as a forceful competitor and not just a team from Africa making up world cup numbers.

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But it starts at domestic competition level. Is SA Rugby going to introduce a bigger national interprovincial tournament for senior women’s rugby? This thing of just one round is not helping to improve the quality of women’s rugby in SA. What can players show and do in one round, involving just a few interprovincial games? A national tournament consisting of two rounds, played on a home and away basis, must be introduced. More national tournaments must be introduced such as a Top 8 and a Cup competition for senior women’s rugby teams.

Under 20 women’s rugby must also be prioritised so that young, emerging players who are the future Springboks develop the skills and international experience whilst at u20 level and not only when they enter the Springbok set-up. How about an u20 national tournament, following on from the national u16 and u18 youth weeks?

And then there’s the much needed and crucial for advanced development international competition. Between now and the world cup in 2021 in New Zealand, South Africa’s women’s Springboks team must play much more higher ranked international teams so they can grow stronger.

Yes, all these national tournaments, preparation of provincial teams and inernational tours requires money. But why can’t sponsorship be attained for women’s rugby when its there for men’s rugby? Junior men’s and boys rugby is also very much prioritised within SA Rugby.

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I’ve called for this before and I’m calling for it again: SA’s women’s Springbok squad should be nationally contracted leading up to the 2021 women’s rugby world cup so the players can focus on rugby as full-time players instead of having to prioritise work and education commitments with rugby training, playing and preparation happening now and then.

Within women’s rugby clubs and provincial teams are the young andemerging players finishing high school but not being attached to a tertiary institution nor having employment. Can’t it be organised for these young players, those on the fringe of national selection and those already in the women’s Springbok set-up, for them to go and play club rugby in Australia and New Zealand. If SA Rugby can arrange for the players to be involved in club rugby in these very advanced women’s rugby playing countries, it can only improve their quality and level of play.

Women’s rugby is becoming very popular in SA. The girl and women rugby players work hard at their training programmes. But SA Rugby, as the officialdom and administrator of women’s rugby, is not offering much for the women’s game to grow and be taken to much higher levels. Playing one round of interprovincial competition, involving just a few games is not enough for the rugby hungry players.

SA Rugby gives the reasoning that it doesn’t have the money for women’s rugby. But how committed is SA Rugby to developing women’s rugby in SA? They certainly focus heavily on boys, junior men’s and men’s Springbok developent and support. But what about money and support for women’s rugby?