NMMU-Madibaz netball star Jeanie Steyn was delighted to learn that she had received recognition from the national selectors and been included in the side that will face Wales next week.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper will join colleague Zanele Vimbela in the Proteas squad for the three-match SPAR international series in Durban from June 17 to 19.
In addition, NMMU’s Melodine Jacobs has been selected for the SA U21 team. The U21 sides will play the main curtain-raisers on each day of the tournament.
Vimbela, 27, also a goalkeeper, made her debut for the Proteas at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She and Steyn will form a key part of the Proteas’ defensive strategy against Wales.
Steyn, who grew up in Roodepoort in Johannesburg, is a new addition to the NMMU netball community, having only linked up with the varsity this year.
“It was kind of unexpected,” said the visual arts student after learning of her inclusion.
“When they announced the team I was very surprised, but now it’s a huge learning curve with Norma Plummer being here.”
Plummer coached Australia to World Cup titles in 2007 and 2011. She took over the coaching of the South African team last year.
While looking forward to working under her, Steyn paid tribute to Madibaz coach Lana Krige.
“Lana is a defender coach who has helped me so much.”
Steyn said she was enjoying the change of environment in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“In Pretoria everyone is on their own mission, but here everyone is more chilled. I love the ocean and when I’m not studying or playing netball I’m out there surfing.”
Ranked fifth in the world, three places higher than Wales, South Africa should have an advantage going into the series.
They have not lost in 11 matches against the Welsh, but Vimbela said they would not be taking anything for granted.
“We have been working hard and know we will have to be at our best against Wales.”
The other new caps in the 14-member squad are shooters Siggie Burger and Renske Stoltz.
Proteas captain Maryka Holtzhausen said they were all exciting players.