Meet Khanyisa Chawane. A University of Free State Student and international Netball player. She represented the South African netball team at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Khanyisa won the 2019 Africa Netball Cup Champions with Spar Proteas and Sportswoman of the year at the University of Free State. She has recently joined Team Bath based in England ahead of the 2020 Vitality Superleague season. She talks to us about her journey as a professional Netball player.
Please tell us who is Khanyisa Chawane?
I grew up in Burgersdorp village, Tzaneen, Limpopo. I am a child of God and huge believer. My family moved to Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga but I continued with school in Limpopo. My parents and family have been my greatest support throughout my life.
Tell us about your educational journey?
I completed my matric at Hoerskool Ben Vorster based in Tzaneen. I am now in my final year studying my Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Agrometeorology at the University of Free State.
How did you get into netball and what motivated you?
I started playing netball back in primary school. Growing up in the dusty streets of my village Netball was my religion and I dreamt of playing professionally. I was lucky enough to have a coach who was very dedicated to the sport and helped me to perform better during high school. My fortunes changed when University of Free State scouts recruited me to join the Varsity team while I was still in high school.
You are now a professional netball player – Which clubs have you played for to be where you are today?
I played for Kovsies which is the University team and also played for Free State and Free State Crinums which are the senior teams of the province.
You represented the South African netball team at the 2019 Netball World Cup, what does that mean for your career?
It has always been my dream to represent my country in the world cup and to compete with the best in the world. This was a big step for my netball career because we played well as a country. Playing at the highest level provided me with exposure to international scouts.
You were crowned sportswoman of the year at the University of Free State, how do you feel about that?
I felt very honoured to be chosen among so many great sportswomen in our University. When you are doing something you enjoy and love with passion, an award like this is extra special. It took lots of commitment, dedication and sacrifices along the way to be where I am as a Netball player.
South Africa does not have a professional Netball league. How do you make a living as a netball player?
First and foremost finances will always be a problem as we know money can never be enough. But if we had a professional league the situation would be better. I am a student depending on my parents’ allowance at this moment but it gets difficult outside school to play and not be well paid. I do believe that soon we will be able to sustain ourselves through netball
You signed for the Team Bath in England. What does this mean for your career?
I got scouted after the Netball World Cup by the coach of Team Bath. She loved how I played and wanted me to join her team. I agreed because I love to face new challenges and grow as a professional Netball player. This will also allow me to make a living doing what I love and improve my earning as a player in a professional league. Playing in a competitive Netball league will help me cement my position in the national team.
South Africa will be hosting the 2023 Netball World Cup for the first time in the African soil, how do you feel about that?
This prestigious event comes with economic benefits for the country and its people. The World Cup will elevate the status of Netball in South Africa and hopefully provide aspiring netballers with opportunities. I believe the tournament will lift the profile of the talented players in South Africa and open doors to international leagues.