SA Netball captain is thrilled to be the first South African female to be represented by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation
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Johannesburg - Proteas netball captain Bongiwe Msomi admits she was “shocked and surprised” when she first learnt that elite sports agency Roc Nation were interested in signing her up as a client.
“I never expected it. I didn’t think I would be on their radar when you consider all the star athletes they represent.”
Last week Msomi, the captain of the Spar Proteas, became the first South African female to be represented by the elite sports management agency, which is owned by US rap mogul Jay-Z.
The 33-year-old is the third national captain to join the stable after Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Proteas captain Temba Bavuma.
Other South African players represented by Roc Nation Sports include Cheslin Kolbe, Lungi Ngidi, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, and Sbu Nkosi, along with The Sharks franchise as a consulting client.
Msomi is the third-highest capped player for South Africa with 126 appearances and led the team to their most successful Netball World Cup performance in 2019.
Roc Nation Sports will manage Msomi’s career both on and off the field with a strategic focus on her brand, commercial catalogue and philanthropy.
Msomi, who hails from the township of Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal, said she was delighted by her latest development in her career.
“It’s still sinking in. It was very overwhelming and exciting to finally get the news out in the public. I am grateful for the respect they showed me. They are interested in the bigger picture too.
“It isn’t only about Bongi and the netball court, they want to help make a difference both on and off the court, that is important to me and my future plans.”
She athlete says she is humbled and that this partnership, more than anything, is the confirmation of being on the right track.
“It still is a crisis in our country for women to be recognised in their respective roles for their hard work and successes, so I have to thank Roc Nation Sports for being amongst a few who are breaking this curse.
“We deserve as much and slowly, we are heading in the right direction. I am grateful to be in the forefront, paving the way. The future looks bright.”
She says her family and the community are also thrilled.
“They are all very happy and excited. Of course I had to explain to them and make them understand what this is all about and where it’s taking me. The messages of support from everyone from home, in the country and abroad have been really humbling.
“I don’t think anyone ever thought a young girl from Hammarsdale would go on to be represented by Jay-Z’s company.”
Msomi says she hopes that this opportunity will not only impact upon her netball career but netball as a whole in South Africa and Africa.
“Netball is a loved sporting code in South Africa, I hope this partnership will have a positive impact on the sport.”
She also hopes it will inspire other athletes in the country to chase their dreams and realise that anything is possible.
“I am so happy this is happening now. There are a lot of athletes that I work with, athletes that I play with, hopefully this will motivate everyone who looks up to me too. I hope this will motivate and show everyone that hard work and perseverance do reap the rewards.”
Having come from an underprivileged background, Msomi hopes that her achievements will serve to inspire others.
“I am the fifth child of eight in my family. It was a difficult upbringing. Dad used to work at Spinlon (a company that used to make cotton in Hammarsdale). He passed away in 2008 when I just started to travel a bit and enjoy the sport.
“My mother was a single parent from then on and a factory worker so there wasn’t a lot of money to go around. She worked very hard to give us a good upbringing and support and I am fortunate that netball has given me an opportunity to be able to give back to my family and community.”
She says the sport has changed her life.
“I don’t know where I would be without netball. It gave me an opportunity to travel the world, represent my country, make an income and to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for all the young girls who have dreams of following in my footsteps.
“Anything is possible through hard work and determination. I didn’t ever think that my life would turn out this way coming from poverty and lack of resources. I am so grateful for what netball has brought into my life.
“I am so grateful for my first netball coach (Sithembiso Mncwabe) and all who played a part in me being where I am today.”
The iconic partnership between Msomi and Roc Nation also heralds an exciting new chapter for both parties, as South Africa prepares to host the 2023 Netball World Cup showpiece for the first time in its history.
Msomi says she is thrilled that the showpiece will be held at home for the first time ever and has high hopes for her team.
“I’m super excited. Africa has never hosted a (netball) World Cup championship and this is history in the making. The idea of preparing for it is just exciting. We had a fantastic performance in the 2019 World Cup and we want to continue building on that momentum.
“We have a great squad of players and coaching staff together with Netball South Africa and all involved who are working tirelessly to make sure we are as well prepared as we can be, come 2023. Hosting the World Cup will be a special moment for our country and we hope we can make everyone proud.”
Meanwhile, Roc Nation Sports International president, Michael Yormark said he was thrilled to have Msomi on board.
“We are proud and honoured to have Bongi join our growing family in South Africa. She is an exceptional talent who has achieved great success on the court and has helped to elevate netball in South Africa and the continent.
“We want to continue raising the bar with her to make sure she fulfils her goals and objectives on and off the field.”