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The first leg of the 2022 Telkom Netball League, that was held in Durban is complete. The rest of the competition will now be played at Pretoria’s Heartfelt Arena. The team captains weigh in on their teams’ experience so far and what they will be focussing on for the remainder.

Eastern Cape Aloes
Captain: Jeanie Steyn
Jeanie Steyn started playing in the National League in 2014. She played for the Gauteng Jaguars in 2014-2016. In 2017 she played her first season for the Eastern Cape Aloes and continued until 2020. She didn’t play in 2021 due to an injury. This will be her fifth year playing for the Aloes. She’s been the captain and co-captain for the Aloes from 2018-2022.
Vice-Captain: Nomxolisi Luvuno

Limpopo Baobabs
Captain: Nthabiseng Mothutsi
Nthabiseng Mothutsi started playing in the National League in 2017 for the Limpopo Baobabs. She was co-captain in 2017 and has been the captain from 2020 to date.

Eastern Cape Comets
Captain: Britney van der Merwe
Britney van der Merwe started playing TNL in 2021 for the Eastern Cape Aloes. This is her second year representing the Eastern Cape in TNL. This is her first year stepping into the role as captain, captaining the Eastern Cape Comets.
Vice-Captain: Qamisa Jonas

Free State Crinums
Captain: Ané Retief
Ané Retief started playing TNL in 2017 and have always been a Crinums player. This year will be her 6th campaign as player. This 2022 campaign is her first opportunity to captain the team, during the 2021 campaign she was the vice-captain.
Vice-Captains: Khanyisa Chawane & Bianca de Wee

Northern Cape Diamonds
Captain: Micke Engelbrecht
Micke Engelbrecht has been playing TNL since 2021 and this is her second year playing for the Northern Cape Diamonds. This is her first year as captain.
Vice-Captain: Eureka Mentoor

North West Flames
Captain: Didintle Keebine
Didintle Keebine started playing TNL in 2018. She was also the captain in 2021 and the vice-captain in 2020.
Vice-Captain: Nicolene van Heerden

Gauteng Jaguars
Captain: Izette Griesel
Izette Griesel has been part of the Jaguars setup since 2014, only missing out in 2021 due to national duty. She was captain in 2020 and is again now in 2022.
Vice-Captains: Marlize de Bruin & Tshina Mdau

KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Queens
Captain: Leah Sim
2021 was her first year playing TNL, representing the Kingdom Queens. She was the vice-captain last year.
Vice-Captain: Thulisile Maduna

KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars
Captain: Jeanté Strydom
Jeanté Strydom has been playing in the National League since 2015. She didn’t play in 2019 due to playing commitments in Australia in the Sapphire Series. This year is her 7th year of playing in the National League. She’s played for the Flames, Jaguars and now for the Kingdom Stars. This is her first year as captain for a TNL team, taking over from Kalipa Gibisela after she was injured.

Western Cape Southern Stings
Captain: Nicholé Taljaard
Nicholé Taljaard started playing in the National League in 2016 (sat out 2017 due to injury) and then every year after that to date. This is her 6th year playing in the National League for the Southern Stings. This is her first year as captain and for the Stings.
Vice-Captain: Mandolene Hermanus

Mpumalanga Sunbirds
Captain: Maryke Coetzee
Maryke Coetzee started playing in the National League in 2014 with the Free State Crinums. She also captained the Crinums in 2018. She started captaining the Sunbirds in 2019, was the vice-captain in 2020 and back as captain in 2021 and now in 2022.
Vice-Captain: Palesa Mbukwana

Western Cape Tornados
Captain: Yeukai Chamba
Yeukai Chamba started playing in the TNL in 2018, that makes this year her 5th campaign. She previously played for the Western Cape Southern Stings. She’s been playing for the Tornados since 2020.
Leadership Group: Senestie Ponie & Rochelle Rosssouw

What’s your impression of the first leg (Durban leg) of TNL2022?

Jeanie Steyn (Eastern Cape Aloes): It was amazing being back on court for the TNL season especially since spectators are allowed to come and support their teams. We have been missing the energy buzzing around the courts. Our team had a great start to the league and won all four matches that we played. Although we won our first match, if was a bit of a rocky start but we bounced back and saw what we are capable of in our match against the Baobabs. We knew our match against our local competition, the Comets, was going to be no walk in the park. What I enjoyed in that game was that the Comets rose to the occasion, and it was a showcase of the vast talent of the Eastern Cape. Our game against the Sunbirds was where we really experienced the potential of our team. All 12 players were ready and knew what was expected of them.

Nthabiseng Mothutsi (Limpopo Baobabs):
The energy was amazing. There’s a lot of differences now that we are allowed spectators. The hype in the arena was too much.

Britney van der Merwe (Eastern Cape Comets): The first leg was a very new experience for me and many others as last year we were under strict Covid protocols for TNL. This is the first year I’ve experienced spectators and I’ve loved every minute of it! The first leg was an amazing opportunity for us as a team to find each other on court and the beautiful Durban ocean view from our hotel was an added bonus when we were bonding off court.

Ané Retief (Free State Crinums): I had a good impression of the first leg of TNL2022 in Durban. It’s great to have spectators back in the building, and that all games can be viewed either on SuperSport or via SuperSport Schools. The games were all highly competitive, consistently shuffling the log standing.

Micke Engelbrecht (Northern Cape Diamonds): My impressions of the first leg in Durban was definitely a good experience with many memorable times, the first one was to see how the community bounced back after the floods in KZN and how they did their best to accommodate us the best they can. Durban is rich in culture, and it was nice and interesting to learn more every day. So overall the impressions were great.

Didintle Keebine (North West Flames): It’s either you bring your A game to the table, or you don’t. The team that works together, intentionally, will take on this league and be the champions of this year’s TNL!

Izette Griesel (Gauteng Jaguars): There are a few strong teams this year, making it more competitive and allowing all the players to bring their A game. Looking forward to the rest of the games.

Leah Sim (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Queens): I thought the first leg of TNL in Durban was an incredible introduction to the tournament. Durban, being the warmest place to be, welcomed us all with open hearts, and filled the arena with laughter, cheering, singing and the best support we could have asked for. The competition was tough, with close scores in every game, and we need to send a huge thank you to all our amazing spectators, for their support. The first leg has given us a good introduction to the intensity of the games, and I believe we can come back firing in the second leg.

Jeanté Strydom (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars): The first leg of TNL 2022 was hard playing 4 games in 5 days, but my team wouldn’t have preferred it any other way because all of us are totally in love with this game, the more netball there is the better and even though your body hurts and you’re tired I know it’s the kind of pain every netball player lives for because that kind of pain means you worked hard and without pain there’s no growth. So the first leg of TNL was hard but a lot of fun!

Nicholé Taljaard (Western Cape Southern Stings): Wow. It was really amazing. Having a crowd again and all of the teams back at such a high level. All of the games were tough and at a high intensity. It really speaks volumes for netball in South Africa and how it has grown where all the teams are so evenly matched and so competitive! It was a bit tough playing four games after each other but also something we have done in the past, competing within bubble environments.

Maryke Coetzee (Mpumalanga Sunbirds): I am very impressed with my team. We started off very well. I will be joining them for the first time now the 20th of May.

Yeukai Chamba (Western Cape Tornados): The first leg of the TNL was called “Power Week” for a reason. It started with a bang. It was incredible to have the supporters back. Although we had a shaky start, we started to find our form and hope to continue to build as the TNL progresses.

Highlights of the season so far?

Jeanie Steyn (Eastern Cape Aloes): The highlight for our team so far is our victory against the Sunbirds.

Nthabiseng Mothutsi (Limpopo Baobabs): Having spectators back to support the sport live.

Britney van der Merwe (Eastern Cape Comets): A highlight for me was our game versus the Aloes. We put up a strong fight against the second division winners and it was our best performance as a team. I’m so proud of my team and our continuous growth in the first leg.

Ané Retief (Free State Crinums): Definitely the tight, quality game against the Gauteng Fireballs that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Also the two man of the match awards revied by our players Khanyisa Chawane and Rolene Streutker for their individual performance contributing to the team.

Micke Engelbrecht (Northern Cape Diamonds): One of the highlights of the first leg was the fact that spectators were allowed back to support. It brings a whole different atmosphere that was one of the highlights. Another highlight was to be back competing against the best in the business as a team and to meet other people with the same love for this beautiful game.

Didintle Keebine (North West Flames): There are incredible performances from every team. However, nothing is predictable. The competition is thrilling.

Leah Sim (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Queens): Some of the highlights of this season so far, is that we are fortunate enough to have phenomenal coaching, where we are all able to learn and grow, gaining inspiration from such a talented past Protea player, Precious Mthembu. Another highlight has been winning a few of our games, showing great team spirit, while we all bond together as one.

Jeanté Strydom (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars): One of the biggest highlights so far for the Kingdom Stars was definitely playing on home ground in Durban! Playing in front of your own people is one of the best feelings there is, you have more energy, more confidence, you want to perform better to make them proud and a victory or a good game where the team played good netball is so much sweeter because its shared with a home crowd.

Nicholé Taljaard (Western Cape Southern Stings): A highlight so far is just being on court again and being able to play competitively. Each game is a chance to work on my skills and improve as a player.

Maryke Coetzee (Mpumalanga Sunbirds): We started off good and The way the team works together on court and off court.

Yeukai Chamba (Western Cape Tornados): The highlight of the season thus far is Amber Coraizin winning the Player of the Match in our fixture against the Limpopo Baobabs. She has just returned from injury after 18 months of no netball, it has been amazing witnessing her journey to recovery, she is an incredible athlete, her receiving that accolade is just a testament to her hard work, resilience, and grace.

What will your team be looking at improving or implementing during the next rounds of TNL2022?

Jeanie Steyn (Eastern Cape Aloes): We need to improve on consistency, to do our job for the entire 60 minutes for each game, even when we are leading on the scoreboard.

Nthabiseng Mothutsi (Limpopo Baobabs): Sticking to instructions, trusting each other, and winning.

Britney van der Merwe (Eastern Cape Comets): My team is definitely ready to up the intensity on court and play to our strengths. We were finding each other in this first leg which required more patience and a slower game plan, but now we have worked on our communication, our fitness and our combinations and are ready to play high quality netball.

Ané Retief (Free State Crinums): More consistency on our overall game, attack and defense. More smart play. And overall just growing our quality of play as a team in this campaign, leading up to the playoffs.

Micke Engelbrecht (Northern Cape Diamonds): What we as the Diamonds will be working on during the break will be our attacking and to work with the whole team as a unit to get the ball through to our shooting circle without so many errors or unnecessary mistakes. On the defense side we will work to put more pressure from the center pass onwards.

Didintle Keebine (North West Flames): Consistency and working as a team.

Izette Griesel (Gauteng Jaguars): We need to gel in all our different combinations, the more we play, the better we will get.

Leah Sim (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Queens): As a team we have been training hard in preparation for the second leg, we have been working on perfecting our combinations and game strategies, while learning from our small mistakes from the first leg.

Jeanté Strydom (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars): We as a team will firstly work hard to get more game wins and to narrow down the goal difference between us and the other team. Secondly, we will focus on keeping rhythm, focus and our intensity high right through the game because that’s where we’re lacking. We start strong and we really compete in the beginning and middle of the game, but we don’t finish strong enough.

Maryke Coetzee (Mpumalanga Sunbirds: To stay consistent through the game. We tend to dip in some of the quarters.

Nicholé Taljaard (Western Cape Southern Stings): Just staying consistent for 60min. We have really great moments and some not so great, so we want to minimise the “not great” and work on making more great plays and staying focused throughout the game.

Yeukai Chamba (Western Cape Tornados): Our aim going forward is to minimize unforced errors and be more clinical. We believe that the teams that make less mistakes, win more games.

Best advice you can share as a captain?

Jeanie Steyn (Eastern Cape Aloes): If you want to be successful, focus on the job at hand, focus on what you can control and don’t waste your energy on things that are uncontrollable.

Nthabiseng Mothutsi (Limpopo Baobabs): Always do whatever it takes to help your team succeed.

Britney van der Merwe (Eastern Cape Comets): Netball doesn’t define you; your faith and God’s word defines you. A bad game or loss doesn’t determine your worth or value. So go out there and play netball because you have been blessed with a gift and because you want to honour Him in all fullness of that gift! That means work hard, put in the time, be dependable because when you play for God’s glory, you play hard, you find resilience and you always find joy!

Ané Retief (Free State Crinums): We keep at it. Working together.

Micke Engelbrecht (Northern Cape Diamonds): Take it game for game. Don’t try to win the final in the first game. It’s like a hurdles race in athletics, to get to the finish line you need to cross the first hurdle, and then the next one and the next one – game for game. Also, never stand back for anything or anyone. If God put a Goliath in your path, it’s because He knows there’s a David inside you. What’s meant to be will always be.

Didintle Keebine (North West Flames): Giving up is not an option. You determine the outcome.

Izette Griesel (Gauteng Jaguars): Keep doing what you are doing, someone out there is motivated and inspired by your determination.

Leah Sim (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Queens): My advice to others would be to set achievable goals both for yourself and for the team, while working hard to achieve those goals may never be easy, having fun on court together, and motivating each other makes it possible.

Jeanté Strydom (KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars): Everyone that knows me knows that I’m not a huge talker, I lead through example, I will always give 100% in everything I do. If we’re on court training my intensity will be the highest, if we do fitness I will be at the front, if we’re doing setups or video session you will have all my focus and attention, if we need to go somewhere I will always be on time and never late, if we’re in season I focus on what I eat and drink. On and off court I give 100% so my advice is do more talk less.

Nicholé Taljaard (Western Cape Southern Stings): To stay positive and strong. It is very easy to bring a team down with negativity and orders but by being positive and encouraging, players really feed from that and want to improve and play better and then also the entire team starts encouraging each other and playing for each other.

Maryke Coetzee (Mpumalanga Sunbirds: I think to go back to basics. Our team is very hungry this year. We should keep our goals in mind but take it game by game.

Yeukai Chamba (Western Cape Tornados): For continuous improvement to occur, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. Learning is a gift, even when pain is your teacher.