Player gets chance after setbacks

2017-06-14 06:00
Khanyisa Chawane (middle) with some of her friends in the Vergeet-my-nie residence on the Bloemfontein campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). From the left are Shindré-Lee Simmons, Nellmaré Herselman, Chawane, Jenne-Leigh Isaks and Itumeleng Sebidi.Photo: Ruan Bruwer

Khanyisa Chawane (middle) with some of her friends in the Vergeet-my-nie residence on the Bloemfontein campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). From the left are Shindré-Lee Simmons, Nellmaré Herselman, Chawane, Jenne-Leigh Isaks and Itumeleng Sebidi.Photo: Ruan Bruwer

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Having been dealt several blows by life in the past, netball star Khanyisa Chawane has recently been experiencing the happier side of life.

Chawane, a student at the University of the Free State (Kovsies), has been appointed captain of the South African u.21 netball side. She will captain the squad of 12 at this year’s Netball World Youth Cup in Gaborone, Botswana, in July.

The tournament takes place every fourth year.

Lefébre Rademan is the other Free State player in the national team. Coincidentally, she also resides at the Vergeet-my-nie residence on the Kovsie campus in Bloemfontein.

Chawane (21), a BSc student in Geography and Climatology, was dealt the first blow when she lost her mother at the age of 14. Last year, another huge blow hit the family when fire destroyed their home in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga. Her room was totally burned down and all their possessions inside the house were damaged. Her father, Russel, also had to spend three weeks in the intensive care unit in order to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Only two weeks before the fire destroyed her home, she had become the first player in the Netball Premier League to be sent off court for repeated contact (two minutes in total).

Two years ago, when a large group of 80 players were included in the South African u.21 squad, her name was omitted. However, just a few months later (in June 2016), she was included in the team to play against Wales.

Chawane, a quiet person on and off the court, said she was privileged to be able to learn a lot from many netball players in the Free State.

Last year the four national teams, the Proteas, the Junior Proteas, the Fast5 Team and the National Universities Team, were all led by Free State team mates of Chawane.

Chawane’s leadership already shone through on school level, where she had acted as captain for the Ben Vorster High School in Tzaneen, as well as the Limpopo u.16 team.

However, it is only in the Free State where she has really learnt what captaincy is all about.

“Our coach (Burta de Kock) often stresses that everybody should demonstrate leadership on the court,” says Chawane.

“I try to follow the example of our captain at the Free State Crinums, Maryka Holtzhausen, by always staying calm under pressure,” says Chawane, a versatile centre-court player.

According to her, she had learnt about the right body language on court from Lauren-Lee Christians.

Until last year, Christians was a member and vice-captain of the Crinums, the three-time winners of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League.

Dorette Badenhorst, coach of the u.21 team, says Chawane takes the lead at their training camps.

“She makes things happen and I can trust her. It eases my task to a great extent. Apart from that, the players like her and they have helped in her selection as captain. It is always good when the players are satisfied with their leader.”

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