University of Johanessburg’s Netball duo of Cornelia Mupenda and Monica Gomases will take part in the 2021 PENT Series Tournament for the Namibian women’s senior team in Windhoek Namibia.

They join a flory of African university students of have represented their country at the highest level in their sports. Six African countries will go head-to-head in the tournament from 1-5 November 2021. The hosts Namibia will welcome Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia where fifteen tests will be played.

The tournament will see umpires from South Africa, Anso Kemp, who was recently invited to umpire at the Margaret Sunshine Series in Jamaica, Theresa Prince and Elizna van den Berg representing the country.

The tournament started in 2017 where Zimbabwe won the inaugural edition, while Namibia won in 2018. For the past two years, the tournament was cancelled due to the outspread of Covid-19.

While attributing her rise to hardwork and family supports Gomases believes hardwork beats talent in a recent interview conducted by Namibia’s NewEraLive, in a chat with UJ’s Vice Captain Monica Gomases

Born on the  7 November 2001 in Rehoboth Namibia,she currently plays for the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Netball Club having previously played for the United Netball Club. She plays as a Centre (C), Goal Defence (GD) and Wing Defence (WD).

What are some of your career achievements?

They are so many to mention, but I would say being part of the various national teams since the U/12 level and going earning my place in the senior national side this year has been incredible and a huge highlight. Winning three Player of the Match accolades during the Varsity Cup and being nominated as Player of the Tournament for the same competition are also some of my career achievements.

Who is your favourite local or international player?

Former New Zealand captain and legend Laura Langman.

Which match would you say was your most memorable?

It was during the Spar Challenge Tri-Nations Series. I played against my current coach Bongiwe Msomi, who is also the captain of South Africa’s senior side.

Which would you say is your toughest match/es?

It was also during the Spar Challenge Tri-Nations Series Tri-Series against South Africa and Uganda. Those games were tough.

What would you say are some of your biggest career disappointments?

I have really been blessed so far, but maybe I would say my biggest disappointment was getting two minor ankle injuries but I have since recovered and I am very strong now.

Who has been the biggest influence on your flourishing career?

It has been my family and all the people who have always gone an extra mile for me; they all know very well who they are.

With whom of the Namibian player/s do you most enjoy playing?

It’s most definitely Cornelia Mupenda and Juzelri Garbers; those two are my sisters on and off the court.

Your career has been on a steady rise, and the world is now noticing; tell us a bit about your netball journey and how you got to South Africa?

It all started at primary school at St. Joseph’s Primary School, where I excelled as a player. I continued when I went to the Windhoek Gymnasium Private School, where I was also fortunate to tour South Africa with the school team. During that tour, we played against the best netball schools, and I won Defender of the Tournament against Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool, also known as Affies, which is one of the schools with the best netball teams. After Windhoek Gymnasium Private School, I got a bursary to go study at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). I’m currently here, and the journey has just been amazing so far. I’m working with great coaches and getting so much exposure, and gaining experience. It’s just a blessing!

Your outstanding performance in the South African Varsity Tournament saw you scooping three Player of the Match awards; how was that feeling?

I have been working very hard, and my teammates and coaches were backing me all the way. I could not have done it without them.

You were selected as part of the squad that represented Namibia at this year’s Spar Challenge Tri-Nations Series in Cape Town; how would you describe the experience, and what are some of the lessons learned?

It was such an honour to represent Namibia’s Desert Jewels – and secondly, playing on such a big stage next to players that I just watch on TV was the next level of my career. But, I learned a lot and got to understand what it really takes to play at that level and the kind of work that one needs to put in to perform well.

What are your thoughts on the general state of Namibian netball?

I’m so proud of my country and the efforts that we have been putting in so far. We have so much great talents in our country – and if more opportunities are granted, I’m sure, we as players, will make good use of them.

How has netball changed your life as a player and on a personal level? Playing netball and doing sport, in general, has opened so many doors for me – not just being able to complete my matric at the best school in Namibia [Windhoek Gymnasium Private School], but also opening the door for me to come study further in South Africa and play netball here. I got this bursary through netball, and I am just so grateful for this opportunity.

What are some of your ambitions for this year and beyond?

I definitely want to continue playing for the Desert Jewels and also continue representing my university in the Varsity netball tournaments. I mean, how great it would be to represent Namibia at the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town.

If not netball, which other sport career would you have chosen?

Athletics – I was also a good athlete in that space.

Besides netball, what would you say is your other passion or obsession?

Beauty and makeup; off court, I love to look fashionable and make sure that my face beat is always on point.

Tell us one thing about yourself that many people do not know?

I always match my training outfits based on colour.

What is your personal favourite motivational quote? 

‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’.

What are you most grateful for in your life at the moment?

My family and life itself; waking up every morning is such an underrated blessing, but I’m here for that.

What do you do to relax after a long day?

I listen to music or hit the gym.

What is the one thing that you suck at? Singing