The Madibaz women’s water polo team are fired up to show what they can do when the University Sport South Africa tournament is held in East London this weekend.
Taking place from Saturday to Monday, the Nelson Mandela University outfit want to improve on their performances of recent years, where they have often ended in fourth place.
Madibaz Sport water polo manager Melinda Goosen said they had consistently made the tournament semifinals, but had not won a medal by ending in the top three.
“We want to change that this year and our players are committed to finish in a medal position,” she said.
“There are a number of new faces in the squad, with half the team about to experience their first USSA tournament, but there is a very good work ethic among the players.”
She said the squad trained twice a day, before 6am and a second session often ending after 6pm.
As the club strove to develop its strength, Goosen said it was crucial to do well to support their bid to find a sponsor.
“We have the players and structures in place, but the team have to organise music trivia evenings and special events to help raise money to compete in the Currie Cup and USSA.”
Players such as Meghan Maartens, Casey McLeavy, Charne Keen, Hannah Werth, Kelsey Vaughan, Mirricke du Plessis and Nina Cressey would provide the experience, while she added that their biggest challenge was a lack of tournament match practice.
“For example, UCT and Maties [Stellenbosch] play in a very competitive league in the Western Cape. Unfortunately our Nelson Mandela Bay competition isn’t of the same standard.”