Maties Sport is set to defend 3 titles at the upcoming USSA Winter 2024 Championships

The maroon machine earned 3 gold titles at the 2023 edition of University Sport South Africa (USSA) Championships at USSA Women’s Hockey, USSA Men’s 15’s Rugby and USSA Netball, and are working tirelessly aiming to retain these titles. This year’s games are being held In Johannesburg aside from Men’s and Women’s Rugby hosted in Kimberly and Badminton in Cape Town.

Words of encouragement were given by Chief Director, Maties Sport Ilhaam Groenewald and Stellenbosch University Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies Professor Sibusiso Moyo shared her vote of confidence to the teams attending USSA.

“Sport is a powerful unifier. It transcends boundaries and brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. The balancing of academics and playing sport remain crucial to having a holistic experience.  As you step onto the field, the court, the rink, or the track, remember that you are ambassadors of our values: integrity, respect, and excellence. Compete with honour, support one another, and show the world the true spirit of our university.”


This year, Maties Hockey welcomes multiple USSA debuts from the men’s and women’s team hoping to make their mark on the astro.

Captain of the women’s team Daniella Mendes de Oliveira delivered an encouraging address to our students and support staff.

“Our student athletes, I want to congratulate all of you for the unchangeable conviction and determination you have shown to reach your goals. And the sacrifices you made to be here, do not go unnoticed. Although we as high-performance athletes we always tend to want more, do not forget to take the time to look at how far you’ve come.”

“Trust in your preparation and use this as a room to improve while competing with and against some of the best athletes the country has to offer,” concludes Daniella.

According to Bevan Bennett Maties Hockey Head Coach the men are ready, although losing a couple of star players after graduation he is confident his team will make it to the end after falling short 4-1 to UP-Tuks in the 2023 USSA Hockey final.

“We have some new inclusions this year. Selections have been difficult because of the high-level competition amongst the group. We are trying to stay present in the moment and do the necessary actions so we can be ready for the challenges,” explained Bennett.

The USSA Hockey Tournament will take place at Wits University from 1-5 July 2024.


The Maties Rugby men, back-to-back USSA Rugby Champions, are eagerly anticipating this year’s competition. The team will be led by Kabamba Floors and Craig Barry, with Rhys Fulford serving as the captain. Additionally, the women’s team is thrilled to participate in the inaugural USSA Women’s Rugby 10’s tournament. This marks significant progress for women in rugby, following the lead of esteemed organizations like Varsity Cup, which established a women’s tournament in 2023.

Liza Slabbert, the captain of the women’s rugby team, said, “It’s an exciting time for us. We’re playing a new format, 10s, and many of the ladies are new to it. We’re super excited!”

The USSA Rugby Tournaments will take place at Rhodes University, Makhanda from 1-5 July.


The defending champions, led by former head coach Zanele Mdodana, have won the USSA netball championship for two consecutive years. Coach Mdodana has resigned in 2023 to assist in coaching the national netball team. Under her leadership, the team made it to four finals, winning three of them, including USSA and Varsity Netball.

They remained unbeaten in the last two USSA competitions in 2022 and 2023. With their new head coach Adele Zeelie stepping in, Maties Netball aims to secure a hat-trick of titles, as they have been a dominant force in the competition. All eyes are on Coach Zeelie and her team for this season.

The first team will compete in section A – Super League will be led by Zeelie and the second team will compete in Division B lead alumni and former Maties netball player Jo Prins. Both teams are filled with debutants, juniors and seniors eager to showcase their talent.

The USSA Netball Tournament will take place at the University of Johannesburg and Wits University from 1-5 July.


The USSA Squash Tournament will be held at Parkview Squash Courts in Johannesburg, while the USSA Badminton Tournament will take place in Cape Town at John Tyres Hall. Maties Squash will start with individual matches on Sunday 30 June and then proceed to the team events on Wednesday 3 July.

Last year, Maties Squash won three medals in the individual section: one gold, one silver, and one bronze. In team events, Maties made it to the semi-finals in both the Section A and Section B championships. Unfortunately, they narrowly missed out on the finals and ended up taking home bronze medals in both sections.

Maties Badminton also collected bronze in the team event, while the women’s doubles team placed second in the open competition. Furthermore, three bronze medals were awarded for women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, along with a silver medal for women’s doubles.


By Jamie Wyngaardt