Wits Lady Bucks to play in the semi-finals

Wits Lady Bucks ready to play in the semi-finals.


THE Wits Lady Bucks Basketball team has qualified for the semi-finals of Gauteng University Basketball League. The Lady Bucks will be playing against  (UJ) Galaxy on Sunday to fight for a spot in the finals.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Some of the Wits Lady Bucks warming up.       Photo: Wendy Mothata

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Some of the Wits Lady Bucks warming up.
                                                                                                                      Photo: Wendy Mothata

This follows Lady Bucks’ journey which started with a loss to Vaal University of Technology last week before picking up in their subsequent matches against North West University and Wits Bucks Ladies.

As the ladies prepare for the encounter, captain Modiegi Mokoka said the team is more concerned with its mental readiness ahead of a “harsh physical play UJ tends to bring forth in games. “
Mokoka outlined that the team needs to overcome fatigue and push on in an aggressive environment.

“The biggest challenge has been remaining cohesive as a team because of the nature of the academic schedule all the students are currently facing. We’ve gone through games without particular players on and off, which means that the team will have to constantly adjust to the manner in which we play each game,” Mokoka said.

The Lady Bucks have been reaching the semi-finals since 2011. “It’s nothing special honestly, we’re quite accustomed to being in the semi-finals, so this is the last step to what actually makes us nervous – which is the final itself,” said Mokoka.

Mokoka said that she is confident that the team will win the game. “We will definitely win the semi and play the league final in October. It’s truly a choice left up to our team at this point. We are a stronger team,” she said.




Related Articles: A loss for Wits basketball teams

An easy win for Wits against VUT

THE PRESSURE: Nono Pongolo, captain for first team cricket after being taken out by VUT.

THE PRESSURE: Nono Pongolo, captain for first team cricket after his dismissal. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

The Croxley Wits Cricket Club beat out  the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) yesterday in a time-limited format that lasted 9 hours.

Both teams were expected to bat twice but Wits only took to the pitch once after bowling out VUT in both innings.

While Wits emerged victorious their win was not easy with VUT putting up a strong bowling performance. The Wits wickets tumbled after they lost their batting partnership of player-coach Neil Levenson and JC Maritz. VUT put pressure on Wits on the first innings but Wits managed to win the innings with just one wicket. In the second innings Wits bowled out VUT on 48, winning to the match by 112.

“VUT is struggling a bit, it has lost quite a few players because a lot [of players] moved to another university so it’s been quite tough for them”, Levenson said.

VUT coach Orkie Engelbrecht said his team’s biggest competitor in the league is Wits and he knew this was not going to be an easy game for them.

“The highlight of the game is the discipline in bowling on both sides … Wits is doing very well with the catchers”, Engelbrecht told Wits Vuvuzela.

Nono Pongolo, first team captain for Wits, said they had the best bowling team in the league even though their batting still needed some work.

“Our batting is still coming together because we’re still quite a youngish team. There are 18 and 19-year-old players in our team … So there’s a lot of learning but also we’re trying to win the game so it’s not easy,” he added.

Wits will face Dobsonville, their toughest competitor in the league, in two week’s time.

Croxley Wits Cricket Club have played five games since the league started, winning three with six more games to play.



‘Teamwork makes the dream work’

Wits’ women basketball players have outshone their male counterparts in the 2014 season, taking gold in the national league and tying for first place in the provincial league.

The women’s team, Wits Lady Bucks, is now regarded as “the best university team in the country for the 2014 season”, according to team captain Modiegi Mokoka, 3rd year BSc Construction Studies.  The team won the University Sports South Africa (USSA) basketball national championships in July.

Team work

Since then, the team has continued competing in the Gauteng Women’s Basketball League and the Gauteng University Basketball League (GBUL), in which they tied with the Vaal University of Technology for first place.

The men’s team came third in their division in the USSA national championships.

This year, the women’s team adopted a “win at all costs” system as opposed to the “everyone must play” approach of previous years, said Mokoka. Their successful performance this year was attributed to team work.

“We listened, we had confidence, we executed but, most of all, we played for each other. We went from 4th place to number one in the country. There’s no better progress than that,” she said.

After years of competing in the USSA championships, this was the first time the team took the top title, having progressed from sixth place in 2011 to first in 2014.

“We had faith,” said Patience Gumbo, BHSc Honours in Forensic Science and vice-chairperson of the club.  “We wanted to win it.  We really were determined this time. We have gone through so much and pushed through so much that we deserved and owed it to ourselves to give it all.”

The core team competed together since 2010, said Gumbo.  “Bit by bit, we kind of became who we are now, but we are still growing … We have been improving over the years and winning USSA national championships showed that.”

“Losing to VUT constantly by two points since the 2012 season pushed us to our limit.” 

The win had inspired and motivated the team to keep working harder, she said. “The other teams won’t be easier on us and they are just going to keep pushing harder.”

The toughest teams in the competition were Cape Peninsula University of Technology which reached the finals in 2012 and 2013, and Vaal University of Technology (VUT).  VUT were national champions for six years in a row, according to Coach William Matlakala, who has coached the women since 2010.

Game change

“The biggest pusher was that we were tired of defeat,” said Mokoka. “Losing to VUT constantly by two points since the 2012 season pushed us to our limit.”

She said VUT’s team consisted of national and international players and the entire team was on full sports bursaries (tuition and accommodation).  This made it easier for the team to be “basketball orientated”, compared to Witsies who played for the “love of it”.

“VUT and CPUT have scholarships for their players and athletes,” confirmed Matlakala. “We can’t do the same so that has been the main challenge.”

Mokoka said the team’s dynamics were “play as a team to win as a team”, but individuals had opportunities to improve on their own goals.  Their plans were to continue their success until the end of 2014 and to develop new players for the new season in 2015.

Coach Matlakala said defending the championship next year would be much harder, but fortunately, only a small number of players were due to graduate at the end of the year.  Before the end of 2015, they hoped to recruit new and advanced players.

GUBL games will take place this Sunday, from 9am to 5.45pm at Hall 29.


Varsity round-up

Rhodes student murdered

THE body of a Rhodes student was found in Port Elizabeth on April 13. She had been stabbed in her neck and chest.

News24 reported that Lelona Thembakazi Fufu, 23, was murdered while hitchhiking to her graduation ceremony last week.

Police spokesperson André Beetge said that, since Fufu’s clothes were still on but her valuables were gone, police believed she had been robbed and then murdered.

Fufu would have been awarded her BSc Honours degree on Thursday evening.


Five universities under fire

INVESTIGATIONS  at five universities have revealed problems in the governance of certain institutions, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has announced.

According to Daily News, Nzimande announced on April 16 that Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of Zululand, Walter Sisulu University, Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the Central University of Technology were under scrutiny for maladministration.

Assessors at TUT reported “continued governance problems” and a lack of progress by the university council in complying with recommendations made by a commission of inquiry and an audit by KPMG.

At the University of Zululand, the assessor reported an “unhealthy”, bordering on “dysfunctional”, relationship between the vice-chancellor and the council.

A lack of student governance was also cited as an issue at the university, where there has been no SRC since 2009.

Walter Sisulu University is reportedly in “dire financial straits”, and academic results are substandard.

Nzimande said he had not yet been given the reports on Vaal University of Technology and Central University of Technology.




Payment saga at UKZN continues

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal has denied accusations that it paid random amounts of money into contract workers’ accounts, following a three-month delay in payments.

Some lecturers and tutors have not been paid since January, East Coast Radio reported, and have stopped lectures as a result.

After students threatened to protest in support of the staff, some payments were made on April 13 and 14. However, staff claim they were paid incorrect amounts. One person claimed to have been paid just R16.

The university has cited administrative glitches for the problems, and said that backlogs would be sorted out soon.