Kovsies ready to defend their title

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LEE KHOTLELE

Bloemfontein – All eyes will be on the defending champions, the University of the Free State, when the annual Varsity Netball gets underway on 14 September.

Kovsies will play in the opening game when they host the University of Pretoria in the opening match at the Callie Human Hall, at the varsity.

The home side will have to defend their title without last year’s inspirational captain Maryke Holtzhausen, who is ineligible for this year’s tournament as she is older than the 25-year-old age limit.

The Free State netball team, which took part in the recent National Netball Championships in Cape Town, started introducing numerous younger, inexperienced players in order to build on their depth.

Many of the Free State’s young players will be representing Kovsies and one of the team’s star players from last year, Ané Botha is excited to have these players in their side.

“The girls, especially the young ones, are excited to play. They’ve seen the series last year. We have to beat the best to be the best, so we’re ready,” she told Courant.

“I think we have depth now. The girls gained much needed experience from the previous challenge and are ready to fill the shoes of the more experienced players that we lost,”

“We have a different game plan with the shorter shooters and the shooters playing them closer to the posts so that they can shoot. So, we’re excited and looking to build up from last season,”

“Gelling as the team is not a problem. We know the players, but were unfortunate to lose our Proteas, but we know how other teams play.”

“Our advantage is that we could choose the new players. The other teams do not know us that well, but we know them. At every game we play, we try and practice like we know that player and what their weaknesses are.”

The Bloemfontein girls clinched the title last year after a thrilling 40-44 win over North West University. Botha was named as the Player of the Series award last year, and she said the aim this year is to guide the youngsters and continue with the outstanding form.

“I’d like to help the team and want us to help each other to be the best we can be, because you need the players around you to be the best. I’d like to be called up it the national team and be included in the World Cup squad, having missed out on the national call up,” Botha concluded.