Bongi Msomi recently chalked up a record 150th International appearance for South Africa. With less than a year to go until the World Cup, we caught up with the inspirational Proteas captain

SuperSport, Telkom and the SABC are coming together to broadcast the 2023 Netball World Cup. What were your thoughts at the announcement?
It gave me goosebumps! We understand the impact that major broadcasters have in the growth of sport especially for netball, which is semi-professional. This gives hope and makes the road to becoming professional seem more realistic and much easier. After all, one wants to be part of positive change.

What is your greatest ambition for South African netball?
To turn professional. Netball needs to be a tool to holistically develop the player, child, athlete and coach. The future of an athlete goes beyond sport but the fundamentals of this development starts now.

What are your impressions of this season’s National League?
The tournament has been great. This is a big year of netball and the National League helped with our Commonwealth Games preparations. The Proteas also got to play some preparation matches against men, which was exciting.

Is the team feeling any additional pressure to win a World Cup at home?
Sport teaches you to take everything one step at a time. In saying that, of course we are excited about the World Cup being played in our own backyard and we understand the magnitude of the event. Feeling pressure is normal.

Are future stars coming through the National League?
Definitely. The competition has a good mix of Proteas, national squad players and exciting talent. The league provides players with mental and physical training and preparation, which is vital. Playing against the best in the country forces you to step up your game.

You’ve helped to develop the next generation of stars. What are you doing in that regard?
The Bongi Msomi Legacy Project has an academics support programme. Its aim is to help kids understand their academics options based on their field of study and APS score. Most learners, especially from rural and township areas, are unaware of the application processes, registration and bursary options for tertiary institution education, and do not further their studies. We are also hosting our BMLP League in Hammarsdale. This allows us to create a space where we can educate athletes through netball.

What does your role as a SuperSport Schools ambassador entail?
Being a SuperSport ambassador is being the light and hope for upcoming stars. I am involved in plans and programmes and advise and give ideas that assist and empower the next generation. The biggest highlight for me was the St Andrew’s and St Stithians festivals. They made me realise how much of an impact elite or professional athletes can have on upcoming athletes, and that this is very much where and how talent is identified and nurtured. 

ABOUT BONGI

Msomi grew up in the KZN township of Hammarsdale and is the fifth of eight children in her family. She started playing netball at 16, made her debut for South Africa in 2011 aged 23 and was named captain in 2016. Msomi led the Proteas to their most successful Netball World Cup in 2019, a fourth-place finish, and will captain the Team SA side at the Commonwealth Games. Msomi’s difficult upbringing – marred by poverty and a lack of resources and opportunities – inspired her to start the Bongi Msomi Legacy Project, which is based in Hammarsdale.

Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images