South Africa have named an emerging team to participate in the 2019 Women’s U25 World Championship. Among those selected is Lungile Ndlela, from Durban, one of the more senior and influential members of the team.
23-year-old Ndlela has been playing wheelchair basketball since she was 14 years old when she was selected for the Kwazulu Natal SA Schools Team. This will be her first time representing South Africa on a world stage and she explained how she is feeling ahead of competing in Thailand.
“I feel very proud of myself and my country. I’m so excited to be on the team participating at the Women’s U25 World Championship, especially if I just look back from where I began all those years ago to where I am now and to where I will be. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s thanks to hard-work and a love of wheelchair basketball that I am where I am now. The Championships will be my first time ever playing wheelchair basketball against other countries/teams that are out of my continent, therefore I find it really overwhelming.”
South Africa finished 8th in the inaugural 2011 Women’s U25 World Championship and have been working hard to improve since then.
“We have been working so hard to be ready for the World Championships, trying to get stronger and fitter than ever before. We have had training camps twice a month and we have been doing our best to train on our own and encourage one another to work hard. We’ve even created a group on a social media channel to share videos showing each other how we are doing on our workouts.”
The Kwazulu Natal Warrior player was part of the South African senior team that competed in the 2017 African Championships and hopes to be able to use the experience of playing in the 2019 Women’s U25 World Championship to improve her game.
Ndlela said, “It’s very important to participate at the Women’s U25 World Championship because we’ll be learning a lot from the other teams out there, especially as we have some developing players in our U25 women’s team. I also believe it will improve how I play in the national senior women’s team as well.
“Our aim as a team in the championship is to learn more about how the other teams play, especially on their defence, their fitness levels, their transition from defence to attack, their levels of scoring for every player.
“As for myself, I’m looking forward to playing harder than ever, to have lots of fun on court with other players, to behave well and make some good friendships. I also look forward to impress the audience and be recognized for my efforts in my team, and to the big noisy crowds we are expecting in Thailand.”
Image courtesy of Sydney Mahlangu (Wheelchair Basketball South Africa)