30 August 2021 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Varsity Sports
Sikholiwe Mdletshe (front), captain of the Kovsie netball team, is being congratulated for leading her team to the Varsity Netball final after a tense semi-final win. From the left are Elri Groenewald, Claudia van den Berg, and coach Burta de Kock.

The University of the Free State (UFS) netball team can make it a super Monday for the university if they can lift the Varsity Netball trophy tonight (30 August 2021).

The day started with a silver medal won by former Kovsie, Louzanne Coetzee, at the Paralympics. Kovsies are already assured of the silver medal after reaching the Varsity Netball final thanks to a brilliant fighting display on Sunday (29 August 2021).

They defeated the North-West University (NWU) by a single goal (66-65) in the semi-final in Stellenbosch. At one stage, the winning team trailed by six goals, but showed their mettle in the all-important third quarter to go ahead with 49-47. 
They were inspired by Protea, Khanyisa Chawane, who intercepted one ball after another. She was named the Player of the Match.

Kovsies, the most successful team in the history of the competition with three titles (in 2013, 2014, and 2018), are yet to lose a final.

“We are extremely proud of our Kovsie netball team,” said Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.
“They have done us proud throughout this year’s Varsity Netball tournament. Tonight’s final will be a culmination of their hard work, and we support them all the way!”

The match will get underway at 19:00 in the Coetzerburg Indoor Centre in Stellenbosch. The Kovsies, captained by Sikholiwe Mdletshe, suffered only one defeat in the tournament against the Maties, who are still unbeaten. 

The Kovsie coach, Burta de Kock, was overjoyed with the display of netball in the semi-final victory against the NWU. 
“It was hard and tough and such a brilliant display of netball. I was so proud of the players. There is so much trust among them,” De Kock said.

The UFS is also represented in the Maties coaching staff. Former University of the Free State and Protea player, Adéle Niemand, is their assistant coach.

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