A Matie, a Southern Sting and a Baby Protea

Sigi Burger of NWU Pukke and Stephanie Brandt of Maties during the 2016 Varsity Sports Netball series in Cape Town.

Stephanie Brandt, 21, who has represented Maties on the netball court since her first year in 2015, recently represented South Africa at the Netball World Youth Cup, held in Botswana in July.

Stephanie, a former pupil of Paarl Girls’ High, and currently an education (BEd) student at Stellenbosch University, was very excited about this opportunity.

“It is a great honour to represent South Africa. I worked hard to achieve this and my dream came true.”

Three other Maties – Charmaine Baard, Jo Prins and Sasha-Lee Petersen – were part of the team that helped South Africa qualify for this tournament last year.

The Spar Baby Proteas finished their Netball World Youth Cup in sixth place, after going down 47 -52 to Jamaica in the play off for fifth place.

“I think our team did well and became stronger as the competition progressed. I will forever look back on this tournament with gratitude for the opportunity I received,” says Stephanie.

Her inclusion in the SA under-21 team, as well as Maties’ progression to the final of the Varsity Netball tournament in 2015, are some of her most treasured netball highlights.

“Although we (Maties) lost that final we grew tremendously as a team,” she recalls.

She would encourage any young netball player to continue playing the sport when they come to university.

“Netball creates so many opportunities. You learn to prioritise, to find a balance in your life and to handle pressure, on and off the court.

“You meet new people and make new friends. I also enjoy the team spirit and the opportunity to see and experience new places.”

Sport keeps this prospective teacher very busy.

Netball training can require up to three hours a day, due to the fact that at certain times of the year she also represents the Southern Stings, a regional team participating in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup, as well as the Western Cape team.

“A netball player must learn to prioritise and get by with only the necessary amount of sleep. I also depend on the help and support of friends and family.”

Stephanie is a resident of Huis Neethling, a Stellenbosch University residence for student-athletes.

Apart from representing Maties, most of the students living in this residence play sport on a provincial level and quite a few have been selected for national teams.

Besides her dream to be selected for the senior Proteas team, Stephanie also hopes to make a difference in the lives of young learners one day – on the sports field as well as in the classroom.

She will travel to Durban this week to represent the Western Cape Senior A team at the Spar National Netball Championships from Sunday August 6 to Saturday August 12. When she returns to Stellenbosch, her focus will shift to the Varsity Sports netball tournament, which kicks off in late August.

Pia Nänny is the media coordinator for Maties Sport at the Faculty of Education, and is also a freelance journalist and translator.