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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Education student shines in netball

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: Netball player Danika Odendaal promises to move heaven and earth to achieve her dream of playing for South Africa. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: Netball player Danika Odendaal promises to move heaven and earth to achieve her dream of playing for South Africa.

Netball player, Danika Odendaal, who is currently representing CPUT at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) National Tournament, is hoping to follow in her Springbok grandmother, Delorese Ordendaal’s, footsteps.

The tournament at Camp Discovery in the North West Province started on 20 September and will finish on 25 September.

The second-year Foundation Phase student says: “My dream is to play for South Africa one day. It would be a huge honour and a privilege.” Danika was born in Kwazulu-Natal, but her family moved to Saldanha Bay, Western Cape when she was three years old.  

Netball became her focus in sport and during her school days she completed her first umpiring course. Danika would like to further her qualifications in this field and help other young girls to develop their talents and skills.

“I also had the privilege to coach the U/16 E & F girls netball team at Paarl Gymnasium this year and hope to continue in the years to come.” Her eldest sister Anushka is her biggest motivator as she is also very actively involved in netball development in schools and with CPUT.

The 20-year-old is “honoured and blessed” to be chosen as part of the USSA Netball team. “We have all worked hard in preparing ourselves for this tournament and when I heard my name being called, I was ecstatic. For me, it is a dream come true. I hope to make CPUT proud!”

Sport has always played a big part in her family life and Danika’s parents always encouraged them to try everything.  Because her grandmother was a Springbok netball player, netball became the focal point in both her sister and her life paths. During her time at high school, her coach played a big role in her life and motivated and coached Danika with such enthusiasm that she could not help but fall in love with netball. During her high school years, Danika had the privilege to go on a netball tour to Hong Kong where she played against strong teams from other countries. “It was an amazing experience,” Danika continues.

“I am not sure if it’s the ball, the tarmac, or the friends I have made, or maybe it’s just in my blood, but I love netball.”

Reflecting on her challenges, Danika mentions funding as always being, a challenge, but with her parents, friends, teachers and coach, Annemarie Bester, “they helped to make it all possible”. “I am very grateful for all they have done for me.” In Grade 11 she also had an injury where she tore her ligaments in her foot and that put Danika out for a season. But she had a great physiotherapist that helped her with a speedy recovery and motivated Danika to move forward.

God is Danika’s motivator in life.  “We did not grow up rich, but even though we did not always get what we wanted, we always got what we needed.”

Danika would like to further her education so that “I could help special or mentally challenged children. It is so satisfying being able to help and develop these amazing children”. One of her dreams is to help, motivate and coach young girls at school level to play netball.

She believes that: “Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless.”

Danika hopes to make CPUT proud. “And for everybody out there…No challenge is too big. Be positive, have faith and believe in yourself. You can do it.”  

She hopes this opportunity is the start of many more things to come. “We are a fantastic team and I believe that we can go all the way.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce