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A very special visit from the Royal Navy netball team

What a privilege to host the Royal Navy netball team at Ukhanyo recently.

Last week’s visit was extraordinary, wonderful and impossible to adequately describe. The energy, playfulness, skills transfers and team games seemed never-ending as was the laughter and sheer enjoyment of being together. It lasted well over an hour and the momentum never dulled at any stage.

The Royal Navy Netball team met and coached the under-11, -10 and -9 Ukhanyo netball teams after MasiSports received a call to host them a few days before the end of the second term. During their 10-day Cape Town tour they wanted to experience and coach in a township. The team had played and won the three-match series against the SA Defence Force.

We met them for lunch at Café Roux and chatted with them about Masiphumelele, Ukhanyo and MasiSports. The team was delightful, chatty and so open to our questions.

From the moment they entered Masi, questions abounded. Then they met the kids. It was electric and from that moment the fun exploded, and the energy levels peaked.

They split the Ukhanyo players into shooters, attackers and defenders. The coaching was innovative and constantly changing from individual skills and team competitions to fun games for fitness and groups.

It could have gone on for hours, but the Royal Navy team had a match to be played at Reddam school. It took a long time for them to say goodbye to the kids!

The leaders of the Royal Netball team, Kiana Page and Anthea Kaptein, marvelled at the energy and skills of the Ukhanyo players. Kiana said: “The kids are so enthusiastic, never wilted and showed real skills. This was a very special afternoon – thank you so much.”

They left us with:

  • A host of new drills, disciplines and games.
  • A reminder that having fun at practice keeps the kids lively and learning; and
  • A real hope that they will be able to visit again in three years’ time.

What the visit did also was to share with the young Ukhanyo learners the possibility of a future in the navy. Masi is close to the Naval Academy at Simonstown, so that opened up a future door for the Masi learners. The Royal Navy team spoke about the security of being employed by the Navy, the travel internationally and that there are so many avenues within the Navy that could be pursued.

This visit like so many, opens new avenues and ideas.

A huge thank you to the Royal Navy netball team. You were extraordinary!