Cape players looking to make their mark

Cleopatra Omele, from Khayelitsha, a former star high school netball player, has been selected as part of a provisional SA side preparing to take part in next years under-21world cup in Fiji.

The future’s looking bright
for promising Cape netball
players, Cleo Omele and
Renisha Daniels.

The two 19-year-olds have just returned from an SA under-21 training camp, held at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre, ahead of next year’s Under 21 world cup in Fiji.

They were among four players from the city invited to attend these trials, with Omele, from Khayelitsha, being one of two who made the cut.

While disappointed that she did not make the squad, Daniels, from Mitchell’s Plain, is hopeful that she will be called back, as the squad has not been finalised.

For now, the two are looking forward to the upcoming Telkom Netball League (TNL), which will be held in Bloemfontein next month, following an announcement from Netball South Africa.

The three-week competition will feature 12 teams from across the country, including the SA under-21 team that will use the tournament as part of their preparations.

The TNL will take place at the Mangaung Indoor Sports Complex in Bloemfontein, from Wednesday October 14 until Tuesday October 27.

Initially, the tournament was supposed to have taken place in May over a six-week period in three provinces but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the eventual lockdown.

However, with the easing of the lockdown regulations, the federation was given the green light, subject to strict conditions.

Cape Town will be represented by the Tornadoes and the Southern Stings, which feature players from the Winelands area.

Daniels said she’s excited to be part of the Tornadoes squad and looking to make an impression.

The lanky player first made her Western Provice debut in 2016 and was part of the Western Cape squad that won gold and bronze in 2017 and 2018, respectively, at a national schools’ tournament.

“I’ve been playing netball for as long as I can remember,” said Daniels, a first year B.Ed student at the University of the Western Cape.

“Last year, I went for club trials and I got into the WP under-19 team and represented the province in a national under-19 tournament,” she said.

Despite hurting an ankle in the first two days of the tournament, she said she made enough of an impression on the selectors to be invited to attend last week’s under-21 training camp in Pretoria.

“Even though I didn’t make the team, I’m still hopeful to make the team that will take part in next year’s under-21 world cup in Fiji,” she said.

Meanwhile, Omele, is delighted at being included on the provisional SA under-21 side and can hardly wait to get packing for Bloemfontein.

Her prospects of going to next year’s world cup in Fiji received a welcome boost when she was included in a squad of 16 hopefuls that will be prepared for next year’s world cup.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to represent senior South Africa in the future,” she said.

A first-year student at Varsity College, she’d already represented South Africa at an international under-18 tournament, in Australia, in 2018.

There’s more good news for netball in the city, says Cape Netball Federation chairperson, Marsha Wagenaar.

“We’ve received permission from Netball South Africa to resume netball activities and willhost a tournament for seniors, under-21 and men’s teams, in Bellville, in October,” she said.