Following a successful interclub season so far, the Maties Goalball club is on the cusp of breaking the Western Cape record for the most consecutive wins. The team is currently unbeaten with an eleven game winning streak, according to Wentzel Barnard, ParaSport Manager at Maties Sport.
The 2022 season so far
The sixth tournament of the season will take place on 15 October at Stellenbosch University’s Danie Craven Sports Hall starting at 9h00. If the team walks away with a hat-trick of wins on the day they will not only be breaking their own record of 13 consecutive wins but will also be the new record holders for the Western Cape, says Barnard. The interclub season play-offs will take place on 29 October at the same venue.
Since 19 May 2012 Maties has won 91 out of their 111 games, a win ratio of 81.98%, according to Barnard.
This year Maties’ ultimate goal is to win their third consecutive Lucas van der Walt Shield, after a two year hiatus due to Covid-19. The team also won the title in 2018 and 2019, according to Marius Coetzee, a Maties Goalball representative.
The history of goalball
Goalball was invented in 1946 and as part of the rehabilitation process for blinded World War II veterans, says Coetzee. In 1976 the sport made its debut on South African soil a year after being introduced as a paralympic sport at the Summer Paralympics in Toronto, Canada.
During a goalball match all players are blind folded for the duration of the gameplay. This is so that the sighted and visually impaired players can compete on an equal playing field, says Coetzee.
Goalball balls contain bells so that the ball’s movement is audible and court’s lines are made of strings that are taped over so that players can locate the outlines of the court and orientate themselves, according to Coetzee.
“Goalball is a completely unique, dynamic team sport” that requires “speed and accuracy”, says Coetzee. On the international stage players can reach a throwing speed of up to 60 km/ph. According to Coetzee “communication and listening” are crucial to gameplay.
Goalball at SU
The Maties Goalball club was founded in 2008. The club played its first tournament on 18 April 2009 against Innovation for the Blind, League of Friends of the Blind and Club Sonskyn.
In 2022 the club also participated in the women’s league for the first time. This year the women’s interclub finals took place on 24 September in Worcester where the Hein Wagner Academy (HWA) and Maties squared off in a tough battle that ultimately saw HWA win the game 8-6.
According to Coetzee, the club is always trying to create awareness surrounding the sport at Stellenbosch University. He encourages volunteers, both sighted and visually impaired, to reach out and join the team for tournaments.
By Kara Olivier