Owethu Ngubane’s remarkable journey in the world of netball serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring young South African athletes, showcasing the potential to rise through the ranks in this beloved sport. Hailing from a small town in KwaZulu-Natal, her path to excellence was paved with unwavering determination and a laser-focused mindset.
Her educational journey began at Allingham Primary School, culminating in her matriculation at Crystal Point Secondary School. Currently a Logistics in Road Transport Management second-year student and a star player for the UJ netball team, Owethu Ngubane is a testament to the power of dedication and hard work. Born into a family of six, her journey into netball commenced at a tender age, initially representing her school before venturing beyond her neighbourhood to join another team.
It wasn’t long before Ngubane’s exceptional talent caught the attention of netball enthusiasts nationwide. Her participation in the Telkom Netball League with the Golden Fireballs in both 2022 and 2023 brought her accolades and bolstered UJ’s performance in various varsity competitions. Ngubane’s debut on the global stage at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Cape Town earned her recognition from international scouts, resulting in a prestigious overseas contract with the Strathclyde Sirens Netball Club in the Super League, located in Glasgow, Scotland.
A rising star in South African netball
In 2022, Netball South Africa recognised Ngubane’s potential and extended professional contracts to her and a select group of UJ netball players, including Nomfundo Mngomezulu, Boitumelo Mahloko, Tarle Mathe, and Bongiwe Msomi. This initiative aimed to elevate the sport’s professional status in the country, and Ngubane believes that it has indeed opened doors for herself and many others. She reflects, “This has definitely helped me. It has changed a lot for me, and I have grown from the experiences that we have had in the professional team setup.”
Later, Ngubane’s inclusion in the squad representing South Africa at the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup was a crowning achievement. She enthusiastically shares, “I was super excited about the announcement. There are valuable lessons in playing for a national netball team in a World Cup. The best part was being named in the squad that represented the country in the first-ever World Cup on home soil.”
When discussing her contract with Strathclyde Sirens, Ngubane expresses her gratitude and excitement, saying, “I feel really blessed, and I can’t wait to be part of the team, to learn more, and showcase my talent using all the lessons I have learned from all the different coaches who have helped me grow.” She also draws inspiration from her coach, Bongiwe Msomi, whom she has admired since high school, both as a coach and a fellow player.
A proud moment for UJ Sport
Reflecting on her time at UJ, Ngubane remarks on the supportive and fun environment, where she’s had the privilege of being both a student and an athlete. She extends her gratitude to her family, including her mom and brother, her teammates, and her social media supporters. Ngubane’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable, and she firmly believes that the best is yet to come.
Nomsa Mahlangu, Senior Director of UJ Sport, acknowledges Ngubane’s remarkable achievements, particularly the netball team’s qualification for the Varsity Sports Finals, a first in the competition’s history.
“I would also like to single out Samantha Ngubane for her incredible achievement in being offered a contract to play in the Super League for Strathclyde Sirens Netball Club. This is a prestigious opportunity, and it reflects Samantha’s talent and commitment to the sport. She is the first UJ Netball player to be offered a contract for an overseas franchise, and we are all incredibly proud of her.”