Netball fever is reaching its climax as expectation builds towards the very first Netball World Cup hosted on African soil. Cape Town will welcome 16 top international netball teams. These teams are set to get underway on 28 July with the final being contested on 6 August. All matches will be taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Veteran Maties Netball players Nicole Smith and Nichole Taljaard were recently announced in the 15-woman Spar Proteas Squad. Taljaard and Smith have been an integral part of the Maties’ Netball side in recent years – winning the coveted Varsity Netball and USSA Netball titles in 2022.
Speaking of great athletes, a player marching her way into legendary status is Syntiche Kabuya. Kabuya made massive inroads during her maiden Varsity Netball season – in 2021 – which included three player-of-match awards. During this time the goalkeeper was a prominent figure for the Maroon Machine.
Fast forward two years later and she not only plays an integral part in Zanele Mdodana’s side but has been a pivotal player for the Southern Stings in the Telkom Netball League.
Kabuya – a third year Food Science student – regards a healthy academic and sports balance as a top priority. The former Brackenfell High School learner understands the value of pursuing goals on opposite ends of life’s spectrum.
“The workload has increased a lot in my third year, but I am able to cope when I plan every week ahead,” Kabuya told Maties Sport. “It hasn’t really impacted it that much because when I am at netball, I do my best to keep my attention there.
“I still want to work in a lab, but lately, I’ve been looking at new product development and maybe something in nutrition. My netball goals are still to give my absolute best whenever I step on the court.”
Southern Stings finished in the top four at the end of the 2022 season, Kabuya and her teammates will be looking to repeat and hopefully improve on last year’s stellar performance.
Preparations for Kabuya start in the mind but once her mind is set and focused, she is able to shift her priority to the team goals whether for Maties Netball or the Southern Stings – in Varsity Netball, USSA, and the Telkom Netball League.
A big year lies ahead for Kabuya, but the Maties star does not shy away from the challenge and knows that diligent planning will hopefully reproduce the results from the past two seasons with both Maties Netball and Southern Stings.
With her goals and desired outcomes firmly set – both on and off the court – Kabuya would want to emulate the successes of the past two seasons.
“Acknowledging the fact that it is going to be tough and also embracing it. Then I used that to build my strength for both TNL [Telkom Netball League] and, afterwards, USSA. I strive to maintain a balance by getting rest when I can and trying my best to keep my body healthy so that later when I need it the most, it won’t fail me.”
The late LA Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, had a philosophy that he lived by whenever he stepped on a basketball court. The five-time NBA champion always played for the kid who came to watch him in action, and at times Kobe would be nursing injuries or coming back from injuries. Of this, Kabuya has a similar view and approach when asked about her being a role model to younger generations.
“It is important to have role models because it is always great to have someone be an example of the kind of person you strive to be in life. Regardless of what aspect of your life the role model comes from, it also makes you feel like you are not going through life alone.
“For that same reason, it’s important to be a role model to the younger generation and to let someone who is experiencing the same things that you went through know that they aren’t alone.”
By Lyndon Julius