Madibaz Athlete Claims Gold and Silver at USSA Champs

By Fullstop Communications

Madibaz field athlete Ischke Senekal aims to use her achievements at last week’s University Sport SA championships in Cape Town as a springboard to further improvement this year.

The 29-year-old from Kariega, who is busy with her master’s degree in education at Nelson Mandela University, won the shot put (15.71m) and took silver in the discus (51.22m) at the event.

Senekal said she was happy with her efforts after what she felt was a disappointing showing at the SA National Championships earlier this year.

“It did not go as I wanted in the nationals because although I got gold in the shot put, I was only fourth in the discus,” said the 2018 African shot put champion.

“So, for me, the USSA champs went much better as I improved my distances and picked up gold and silver.”

She added that the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic had set her back.

“That really affected my plans to work on increasing my distances in each event as we could not practise as normal.”

Looking ahead, Senekal said her sights were set on improving her personal bests of 17.56m in the shot put and 56.86m in the discus while her ultimate target was the SA shot put record of 17.88m.

The Madibaz athlete has been included in the South African team to compete in the African Championships in Mauritius from June 8 to 12.

“I really want to use that occasion to try to achieve the goals I have set myself.”

Senekal has been competing internationally since winning the discus number at the African Junior Championships in Botswana in 2011 and said her taste for high-level competition was undimmed.

“Simply, I just want to be the best I can be in the sport that I love,” she said. “If I motivate some young athletes to achieve well then that is a bonus.

“My message to them is never to give up on their dreams no matter what because there will be obstacles in your path. You just have to jump over them and keep looking ahead with a positive attitude.”

Madibaz Sport athletics manager Bernard Petersen said he was impressed with the performances of their athletes at the championships, where they also achieved four fourth places.

“There have been some changes in the format, with USSA deciding to go back to the points system in 2023,” he said. “It will develop athletics and broaden the base.

“Currently we are using the medal system where the institution’s position is determined by how many medals you win at the contest.”

He added that the Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges would be part of the USSA athletics calendar next year.

“It is a very bold step and it certainly makes the event more inclusive.

“Madibaz want to make sure that athletics grows to its full potential among the tertiary institutions and part of our strategy to increase participation is to schedule a track and field event in October.

“We are hoping that we will get buy-in from the tertiary institutions in the Eastern Cape for this event.”

Photo credit: Supplied

Women’s Challenge Ambassador Designs Event Logo 

By Fullstop Communications

Colourful SPAR Women’s Challenge ambassador and fine arts graduate Jeanie Steyn has combined her passions to design the logo for this year’s events. 

The Madibaz netball star, who has a strong relationship with the retailer due to the latter’s involvement in women’s sport, was commissioned by SPAR Eastern Cape to develop the 2022 race identity. 

The logo will be used for the Grand Prix Series event in Gqeberha on May 28 and the Virtual Challenge, nationally, on September 3. 

The Women’s Challenge had adopted a slogan of #IRise and Steyn said it was a challenge to create something that would be universally acceptable. 

“It is always a bit tricky producing something where you need people to envision what you are trying to represent,” she said. 

“You are always thinking ‘am I conveying the same message to the viewer as what I am thinking and feeling through the design?’. 

“It is always a gamble because people are different and prefer different things. I have learnt that if someone does not like what you are making, it is okay – you cannot expect everyone to think it is amazing.” 

Steyn, from Gqeberha, said the slogan played an important role in her thought processes. 

“The first idea to represent the word Rise was a female figure standing strong or jumping for joy.” 

She made a few line drawings and settled on two that she liked. 

“I then drew them digitally, which was still new territory for me since I majored in making three-dimensional objects.” 

The designs were presented to all the regional event organisers and, as a group, they settled on the idea of female figures, explained Steyn. 

“Although SPAR had to make a few changes to align it with their brand strategies and protocols, I am still pleased that they chose the female figures to represent this year’s event. 

“For me, these figures represent resilience and unconditional, consistent rising up to whatever life has to offer.” 

The concept of ambassadors in the various regions was created last year to assist in promoting the event. 

This year Steyn, comedian and entertainer Gino Fabbri and cancer survivor and motivational speaker Yolanda Bukani are the national ambassadors from the Eastern Cape. 

“It really is an honour being an ambassador for this amazing event,” she said. 

“This is a platform where women come together, break borders and rise to the challenge. It unites women nationally and allows us to realise our full potential.” 

She thought that the ambassador concept worked well as people felt more comfortable when they could relate to someone or their story. 

“It makes the event more personal and people are more inclined to join something they relate to or where they feel part of something.” 

As a top netball player who has represented South Africa, Steyn also connects with SPAR EC through its sponsorship of Madibaz netball. 

“It was first through playing for Madibaz and then through working in the Madibaz netball office at Nelson Mandela University where I developed a connection with SPAR and the brand. 

“When I was asked to be an ambassador it was a no-brainer as their values are aligned with mine. They always look for ways to give back to the community and it is so much more than just food.” 

SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton acknowledged the important role of the ambassadors in promoting the race as well as campaigns such as the fight against gender-based violence. 

“They have done an amazing job creating awareness of these sorts of issues. We have become one very happy family,” he said. 

“Besides our three national ambassadors, we have some wonderful new people on board this year and we are excited about collaborating with them in the months ahead.” 

The retailer and regional ambassadors are Alasia Moumtzis (SUPERSPAR Newton Park), Lalla Yerolemou (KWIKSPAR Spyros, SPAR Algoa Foods and SPAR Algoa), Mignon Venter (SUPERSPAR Jeffreys Bay), Karlien Meiring (SPAR Dagbreek), Ntombesintu Mfunzi (athlete and author), Nicci Swartz (artist), Emmy Nxayeka (environmental awareness), Candace Juhl (singer) and Di Luden (United Through Sport). 

Photo credit: Leon Hugo

Madibaz Cricketer Seizes the Moment in SA A Debut

By Fullstop Communications

Madibaz cricketer Tristan Stubbs seized the moment when he steered South Africa A to victory in his Twenty20 debut in Zimbabwe yesterday.

The 21-year-old hard-hitting batsman scored 39 not out off 37 balls as his team surpassed the Zimbabwean XI’s 114 all out with 14 deliveries to spare.

Stubbs was recently named in the squad for the five-match series, which followed three One-Day Internationals last week.

The final-year B.Com student at Nelson Mandela University hit his way into recognition for higher honours with sensational performances in the CSA T20 Challenge in Gqeberha in February.

He notched up three half-centuries for the Warriors, including successive innings of 80 off 31 balls against the Dolphins and 65 off 35 deliveries against the Knights.

It’s no surprise that the T20 Challenge is a career highlight.

“That was a great experience and although we, as a team, did not do that well, it was nice to be second on the list of leading run-scorers,” he said.

“I try to adapt to each format, and I really do enjoy red-ball cricket but, as of right now, I would have to say T20 is my favourite.”

Stubbs said that although his selection for the national outfit had been a surprise, he felt it was just reward for hard work and several eye-catching performances.

“This has been my first full season in provincial cricket, so it was nice to play a number of games,” said the allrounder, who has represented Eastern Province and the Warriors franchise in all three formats.

“I was consistent in the Twenty20 matches and that probably helped to build a case for the selectors to pick me.”

Now, having received a chance to compete at the next level, he wants to grab the opportunity with both hands.

“My goal at the moment is just to make it count,” said Stubbs.

“And then, in the long-term, it is just to make sure I keep enjoying my cricket. So, I am keeping everything very simple.”

The allrounder, who attended Knysna Primary School before matriculating from Grey High in Gqeberha, has had a passion for ball sports as long as he can remember.

“It didn’t have to be a cricket ball; I just remember playing with any type of ball with my dad in the garden when I was a kid,” he said.

As his game developed over the years it became evident that batting was his forté.

“I feel I have the ability to hit sixes, which obviously suits the T20 format, but also to rotate the strike.

“While that went well this season, I also know I have work to do in the red-ball game when it comes to the mental demands of patience and concentration. And I also want to improve my bowling.”

From his parents to coaches, Stubbs has had a strong support base during his short career.

“My parents have always been there to support me and then coaches such as Michael Smith [at Grey High School] helped my batting and Robin Peterson [at the Warriors] gave me the opportunities at domestic level and backs me by allowing me to play with so much freedom,” he said.

Photo credit: Supplied

Madibaz stars on a Mission in Telkom Netball League

By Full Stop Communications

A total of 13 SPAR Madibaz Netball Club players will be at the forefront of the Eastern Cape’s mission to make a statement in the Telkom Netball League that gets underway on Wednesday.

The national competition will see the cream of South Africa’s provincial players in action, with the first block of matches in Durban from April 27 to May 2.

Thereafter the games will take place in Pretoria from May 20 to June 19.

The Eastern Cape will be represented by the closely matched Aloes and Comets teams, who will compete in the B division.

Madibaz’s Britney van der Merwe, who plays wing defence and goal defence, will co-captain the Comets while goalkeeper Jeanie Steyn will lead the Aloes. Lana Krige, who mentors the Nelson Mandela University side, coaches both squads.

Madibaz Sport netball manager Melinda Goosen, who will manage the Aloes, said promotion to the A division was a priority.

“The Aloes have won the B division for the past two years and the Comets finished sixth last year, so it is definitely time for one of them to move up,” she said.

“This will not be easy, but we do have the talent in the Eastern Cape.

“It would really show the strength of netball in the province if we can have the Comets and Aloes in the B division final.”

Goosen said the league would be contested on a double round-robin format, with the top teams qualifying for the semis.

The champions in the lower division will meet the bottom-placed A division side in a promotion-relegation match for a spot in the league’s top tier in 2023.

Steyn, a stalwart of the competition since 2014 when it was known as the Brutal Fruit league, is making a comeback after a hand injury curtailed her 2021 season.

“It will be my fifth year playing for the Aloes and I am excited about this opportunity for our players,” she said.

“Having this chance to compete means that we, as individuals, are growing and grooming our talents, which contributes to strengthening the game in South Africa.

“We want to compete with countries like New Zeeland, England and Australia and this league is paving the way to make that possible.”

She said the experience of the Aloes players who had competed in the Telkom Netball League before would be crucial.

“We have strong, experienced players who know what to expect,” said Steyn.

“This will be beneficial as it will be important to stay calm and collected when it is needed and to be able to hustle in tough situations.

“My message to the players is to embrace every moment. We have nothing to lose, so we might as well go out there and enjoy it.”

Van der Merwe, a member of the the B division-winning team last year, did not shy away from her team’s objective.

“I think every team has one big goal and that is to win. I won’t downplay that because that’s what we work so hard towards.

“But we also want to take each game as a learning opportunity, play as a unified outfit and make sure we always strive to do our best,” she said.

“It will be important to stay calm under pressure but, if we can play with a unified front and give our all on the court, I’ll consider it a success.”

Van der Merwe expressed her appreciation at the opportunity provided by the national body.

“I just need to thank Netball SA for the opportunities they give us. Words can’t express our gratitude but hopefully our games can,” she said.

“The TNL gives us the platform to showcase our abilities and our passion and I personally love it that netball, a game I hold so dear to my heart, gets recognised publicly.

“It makes the players feel valued as ‘professional athletes’.”

The Madibaz players are:

Eastern Cape Aloes: Jeanie Steyn (goalkeeper/goal defence), Siyamthanda Dingiswayo (centre), Siphosetho Kilani (centre/wing attack), Noluthando Maliehe (wing defence/goalkeeper), Mitha Sinxo (goalkeeper/goal defence), Juanita van Tonder (goal defence/goalkeeper), Kaylin Coetzee (goal shooter), Mothira Mohammad (goal attack/wing attack), Mihlali Mgweba (wing attack/goal attack).

Eastern Cape Comets: Britney van der Merwe (wing defence/goal defence), Kelly du Toit (goalkeeper/goal defence), Hanniska van Vuuren (wing attack/centre), Bianca Bloom (goal shooter/goal attack).

Photo credit: Varsity Netball

Coach on a Drive to Bolster Madibaz Rugby

By Full Stop Communications

FNB Madibaz rugby coach David Manuel is on a drive to bolster his squad, particularly in the tight forwards department, as they look ahead to the FNB Varsity Shield competition next year.

The Nelson Mandela University side spent two years in the Varsity Cup – the highest tier of the competition – but finished bottom of the combined log over those seasons to be relegated to the Shield tournament for 2023.

Manuel came in as the coach in November last year with the mandate to rebuild the system at the varsity.

Although they were disappointed at being relegated, he said it was important to face the reality of the situation.

“Rebuilding the system needs time and the objective is to create a legacy here that will outlast me and that will be a lighthouse for the next generation of student-athletes,” he said.

With his first Varsity Cup season as Madibaz mentor now behind him, Manuel underlined the value of experience.

“We competed with a very young team who had not played at this level before and we have to get games under their belt and get them to win more to grow belief,” he said.

“We are busy with our recruitment strategy to ensure we can get players who add value to our system. It is also important to establish a pipeline from our schooling system in Gqeberha.”

Manuel acknowledged that moving to the Shield competition would complicate the recruitment process, but said he was already in conversation with the current squad to assess their plans for next year.

“We would like to keep 90 per cent of this squad to maintain momentum and build experience. We are aware of the challenges and that we need to find ways to work around it.”

The Madibaz mentor said one of the biggest factors was to bolster their personnel up front.

“You need a more experienced tight five to manage the demands at Varsity Cup level,” he said. “If you don’t have a competitive set piece, you will struggle.

“Players need to improve technically right across the board in terms of generic and positional skills, so there is a massive amount of work ahead of us.”

Despite the challenges they faced, Manuel praised the squad for the fight they showed each week.

“We had our first win in two years (against Central University of Technology) and our game against UCT in Cape Town (lost 33-26) was close.

“I felt that [the match against UCT] was the tipping point. If we had won that one it could have led to a better finish to our campaign.

“Although disappointed, the positive is that we can use the remainder of the year to build and develop the system and our players, to beef up our tight five and to establish a winning culture.”

Manuel thanked the Madibaz fans for their support.

“They have been great. There is truth in the saying ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and I believe the supporters have seen some improvement.

“It’s now a matter of being patient and placing trust in the fact that we are busy with a process to build a better rugby programme that will serve the generations to come.”

Photo credit: Varsity Cup

Madibaz Eager to Finish Tough Varsity Cup Campaign on a High

By Full Stop Communications

Scrumhalf Anovuyo Moyikwa said the FNB Madibaz were determined to finish their first FNB Varsity Cup campaign in a number of seasons on a high note when they play Free State University in Gqeberha on Monday.

The Nelson Mandela University outfit have endured a tough programme against the country’s top varsities and will return to the Varsity Shield competition next year.

Moyikwa, who crossed for one of the team’s three tries in their 61-21 loss to Stellenbosch on Monday, acknowledged that their last game against Shimlas at the Madibaz Stadium would be another demanding challenge.

The Free State side are top of the log but Madibaz have been fighting hard all season and Moyikwa says it will be no different on Monday.

“We understand this will be a serious test, but the mood in our camp is that we are determined to finish the season on a high in front of our home crowd,” the 24-year-old business student said.

He was happy to get across the whitewash in the game in Stellenbosch, with the other tries coming from flank and captain Arnouw Nel and wing Jade Stoffels.

Sibalomzi Mqeni kicked one conversion and Kholiwe Khonza added a further two.

“The game against Maties was extremely tough as they are a champion side,” said Moyikwa. “I was delighted to score a try and contribute to my team’s cause.

“I am always happy to contribute in whatever capacity I’m needed.”

Moyikwa attended Moregrove Primary before finishing his schooling at Grey High and debuting for Madibaz this season.

He said it had been a steep learning curve, both for him and his teammates.

“The experience of playing Varsity Cup has been invaluable because of the strong competition you constantly face,” he said.

“I think one of the main lessons I’ve learnt is how demanding rugby can be at such a high level and although it’s been a testing season, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“One of the big things which has stood out for me is that in the Varsity Cup even the smallest of margins make the biggest of differences in the end.

“That means you have to keep your concentration for the full 80 minutes because one slip-up puts you on the back foot.”

From a team point of view, he said he appreciated the attitude of the squad.

“A big area for us was staying in the fight no matter what the situation was and we felt that we did that.

“What we can improve on is to be more accurate in soft moments in the game and not allow our opponents to seize the advantage in those situations.”

Photo credit: Asem Engage

Madibaz need to stay on it for 80 minutes, says Jwacu

Full Stop Communications

The FNB Madibaz must stay sharp and alert throughout when they take on University of Johannesburg in an FNB Varsity Cup rugby match in Gqeberha on Monday.

This was the opinion of eighth man Siyamthanda Jwacu, who described the UJ outfit as “unpredictable”.

Although the Nelson Mandela University team went down 33-26 after a last-minute try by UCT in Cape Town on Monday, the loose forward insisted their spirits remained high ahead of the UJ match-up.

“They have a really good balance between their forwards and their backs, and they are a tough side to beat if you are not focused for the full 80 minutes,” said the 23-year-old, who scored one of Madibaz’s three tries against UCT.

“But one thing about our Madibaz side is that we know we have to fight through until the very end.

“The belief among the players is still strong. We have each other’s backs throughout and it will remain like that until the competition is over.

“We realise too, though, that we need to watch our discipline, be a little more accurate in our gameplan and learn to take our chances when they present themselves.”

Jwacu, a third-year business management student, said it had been a hard game against UCT, a fixture in which they led 19-14 at the break and were level at 26-26 with 10 minutes remaining before conceding the late try.

“All games at this level are tough but we had moments that we missed in that game, especially in the first half,” he said.

“We really put them under pressure but conceded a lot of penalties, which made it difficult in defence, allowing them to grow in confidence.

“Still, I am proud of the effort and fight my teammates brought to the game. The bounce of the ball just didn’t go in our favour.”

Jwacu, who was raised in Mthatha and educated at Queen’s College in Komani, made his Madibaz debut in 2018 for both the Young Guns and senior teams.

The experience he had gained against high-quality opposition was beneficial for his development, he said.

“Varsity Cup is a very intense and fast-paced competition, with free-flowing rugby, which is the sort of brand I really enjoy.

“Being exposed to this type of rugby has seen me grow personally as a player and it’s a great platform to test your skills in all aspects.”

Kick-off against UJ is at 7pm.

Photo supplied.


By Siyolise Gqongwana 

With COVID-19 protocol slightly mitigated, varsity sport is approaching the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. The days of empty, echoey grandstands are seemingly coming to an end – which spells good news for our athletes, especially those who thrive on the intoxicating roar of the crowd. 

While the majority of sporting events were halted last year, a few Madibaz sports teams were still fortunate enough to take part in some exciting competitions and will be looking for more of the same this year.  

On the 22nd of September 2021, the Madibaz Basketball outfit, led by Andrew Uithaler (head coach), took it upon their stride to host what turned out to be a successful USSA (University Sport South Africa) Championship tournament. Not so much on the results front, but in ensuring a smooth, protocol adhering event – which is no trivial task. The side played 6 matches, of which they could only manage 1 positive result, a satisfying 49-61 victory against Eastern Cape counterparts Rhodes University.  

Andrew Uithaler will be desperate for ways to enhance his side’s performance in a few key areas before heading to this year’s USSA Basketball Championship, hosted by the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) later this year, on 5-9 December. 

On the other side of the court, the Madibaz Netball camp also enjoyed a fruitful USSA tournament, particularly: Jeanie Steyn, Siphosethu Kilani, Mothira Mohammad, Noluthando Maliehe and Juanita van Tonder, who were all chosen for the USSA team to represent South Africa in the CUCSA (Confederation of University & Colleges Sport Association) games to be hosted by Malawi in December 2022.  

The CUCSA games are a prestigious sporting event that offer plenty of exposure and opportunities for young talent. They are hosted biennially and include 10 African countries competing in various sporting codes.  

Furthermore, the highly anticipated 2022 FNB Varsity Cup campaign is well underway. For the first time in 2 years, fans are welcome back in stadiums – on condition that they present vaccination certificates upon entry and adhere to all COVID-19 protocols. 

Although attendance is limited to only 2000 per match, the camaraderie in the grandstand and the harmonious chanting of “amagwijo” have evidently been inspiring players to play with their hearts on sleeves. 

Photo credit: Madibaz Sport 

Former student Hayley Ward claims Madibaz squash title

Full Stop Communications

Former Madibaz student-athlete Hayley Ward returned to her alma mater to capture the Nelson Mandela University Open squash tournament in Gqeberha this weekend.

She was joined on the winner’s podium by North-West University’s Tristen Worth, who outlasted ex-Grey High pupil Gerard Mitchell 3-1 in a hard-fought men’s final.

Mitchell is now studying at University of Johannesburg and his position as runner-up was matched by UJ colleague Teagan Roux, who lost 3-0 to Ward.

The tournament was part of a series of events in South Africa acting as qualifiers for the World University Squash Championships in Egypt in November.

This resulted in entries from Stellenbosch, North-West, UP-Tuks and UJ students, adding the important element of variety for local players.

Ward, who is doing her articles to become a chartered accountant, said the quality of the field had made the tournament exceptionally competitive.

“There was a nice mix of players from around the country and that ensured there were some really tough matches during the weekend,” said the 24-year-old. “So, to win it was the icing on the cake.”

Although triumphing 3-0 in 38 minutes, the Eastern Province number one, who won the Westview Open last month, was made to work until the very end.

The second game went down to the wire with Ward taking it 13-11 and, although shooting ahead 10-4 in the third, Roux refused to concede.

In a remarkable sequence, she levelled the game at 10-10 before Ward regrouped to win it 12-10.

“Yes, it got quite intense in the third game very quickly,” acknowledged Ward. “At 10-10, I just decided to concentrate on going back to my gameplan and to stick to the basics, rather than rushing it, and I was happy to achieve that and finish it off.

“It is always a very hard match against Teagan because she is an extremely solid player, and I knew I had to concentrate on making sure I kept a good length throughout.”

Worth and Mitchell, whose match lasted 55 minutes, also became involved in a marathon second game, which the latter won 19-17.

However, the Pukke student kept his composure and worked hard to build leads in the next two games, resulting in a final margin of 11-9 17-19 11-8 11-7.

“This was a real quality tournament and I had to push hard against Gerard to take the win,” the 19-year-old said.

“It was the first time I played in this event and I am very pleased to take the win because my goal is to try to make the USSA team for the World University Championships.”

Squash manager Theresa le Roux applauded the club members for their hard work in a short space of time to ensure the tournament’s success.

“We will definitely host it again next year but will try to source sponsorship to make it an even bigger and more elite event.”

Photo supplied

Cyster leads team effort in Madibaz Varsity Cup win

Full Stop Communications

FNB Madibaz backline star Kyle Cyster believes their win over Central University of Technology in Monday’s FNB Varsity Cup rugby match was reward for the hard work they have put in this season.

The Nelson Mandela University side won their first fixture this year 36-26 at the Madibaz Stadium in Gqeberha, seizing the advantage when they blitzed their opponents with five tries in the first half to lead 33-14 at the break.

Although CUT came back strongly in the second half, Madibaz showed determination in defence to cling on to their lead for a much-needed win.

The 22-year-old Cyster was named the Player That Rocks and was at the forefront of the first half assault, crossing for a hat-trick of tries inside 27 minutes.

The fullback said they had “a great mentality going into the game and we all stuck to the plan our coach had”.

“Definitely, we deserved this win,” said Cyster, who is doing an advanced diploma in business studies.

“Week in and week out we have worked very hard in the training sessions, and we owed it to ourselves and the supporters.”

He added that it was important in the tough environment of the Varsity Cup to stay focused for the full 80 minutes.

“I think the biggest lesson the guys can take away from the game is that if you are committed 100 per cent to everything you do, you will end up getting a positive result.

“The result will also help our self-belief and the fact that we can become even better.”

Cyster, who grew up in Strand in the Western Cape, paid tribute to the support they had received from many quarters.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who came out to support us and everyone who was watching the game at home.

“We do really appreciate it and believe that this sort of support will help us to continue to give our best going forward in this competition.”

Regarding his own performance, the fullback was at a loss for words.

“I actually couldn’t believe it,” he said afterwards.

“I’m still trying to process it, but it feels really special. This game was very important for us, so to contribute to the team with three tries really meant a lot.”

Cyster is relishing the challenge of the Varsity Cup after making his debut for Madibaz in the Varsity Shield in 2020.

“The experience so far has been amazing and it’s all thanks to my teammates and the coaching staff,” he said.

“We push each other to be better, not only on the field but off the field as well. It’s been really amazing to build a bond with this group of players.” In the next round on Monday, Madibaz will play against UCT in Cape Town. Kick-off is at 7pm.