DURBAN – Gauteng captain Tshina Mdau is confident that her side will reach the Spar Netball National Championships final despite a slight dent in their 2017 race.
The Gauteng outfit played to a 34-all draw against North West at the Hoy Park Sports Complex in Durban on Wednesday, their first draw of the tournament after winning their last three outings.
The Gauteng side will now have to make sure that they produce nothing but wins in their two remaining Section A fixtures on Thursday if they are to increase their chances of being in Saturday’s final.
Only the top two finishers of every section (Section A, B, Under-21A and Under-21B), which consists of representatives from each province in the country, will qualify to be in this weekend’s final.
Mdau stated that she was disappointed with the draw they produced against their opponents on the day, but added that she was pleased that they didn’t suffer an unwanted defeat at this stage of the competition as well.
“We are a bit disappointed, but then again happy at the same time that it’s a draw and not a loss,” Mdau said.
“I also believe that we could have done much better in that match, though. Lapses of concentration got to us, and we didn’t stick to the game plan as we would have hoped.
“The wind as well got to us because we are used to playing more indoors than outside. There was a whole lot of adapting we had to deal with (in the match).”
On Thursday morning, Gauteng will take on Free State before they lock horns with defending champions Western Cape later in the day.
The 23-year-old Mdau said she was expecting a very difficult match from both sides, but stressed that she was confident that they would produce the required result to go through.
“We do not want to jump the gun, but we already see ourselves in the final,” Mdau said. “Everybody in the team is just driven to get there. Make no mistake, we’ll be playing against two great sides in today’s match-ups, but we are up for the challenge.”
Western Cape coach Annelie Lucas, meanwhile, said it was a bit tricky for her to determine who will be in the weekend’s final.
However, she stated that her side were more than driven to ensure that they defended their title.
“We’ll play KZN first before we take on Gauteng later on in the day,” Lucas said. “And that’s a bonus for us because that match will help get our girls’ mindset ready for the afternoon game. We’ve said it from the onset, that we want to go all the way and defend our title.
“Us winning our game against Free State made it a bit easier for us to go all the way. However, our job is not done as yet. You don’t win the tournament on the third day of the competition.
“Your responsibility is to make sure you produce the similar type of good performances right up until the final day.”
Section A results
Western Cape 48 Free State 39, Gauteng 34 North West 34, Northern Cape 50 Mpumalanga 32, KwaZulu-Natal 45 Eastern Cape 22.