The next generation of South African sports stars jet off to Angola on Wednesday for the AUSC Region 5 Games.

A team of more than 100 spread over eight sporting codes will wear the green and gold for these important biennial Under-20 Games that feature around 10 southern African nations.


The team assembled in Boksburg for a holding camp earlier this week and had a farewell braai on Tuesday night where newly elected SASCOC vice-president Barry Hendricks wished them well.

‘We wish you all well. This is an exciting journey for you all, and for many it’s your first trip to another country.

‘You go off seeking victory for your country and traditionally South Africa has been at the forefront of these Games when it comes to medals.

‘Africa is never an easy journey but remember than six years ago a certain Wayde van Niekerk [now Olympic 400m track champion] started his continental journey at the Swaziland Games.

‘SASCOC are proud of you and although you’ll all miss your family and friends and face many challenges act like champions and we look forward to seeing you as future champions.’

South Africa will compete in eight codes at the Games which start on Friday and end on 18 December.

One of those codes is netball and for Pretoria-based coach Jenny van Dyk it’s her second Games.

She was coach at the last edition of the Games in Bulawayo two years ago where the South African girls went down to host nation Zimbabwe in the final.

‘We’ve got a very talented group of players here, spread evenly among the provinces. I think North West and KwaZulu-Natal have the most players with three each.

‘These Games are so important for netball as this is where we test them. It’s like these Games see the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.’

Most of the netballers are 19 but KwaZulu-Natal’s Nonsikelelo Mazibuko, at 17, is the youngest.

South Africa will be one of four sides doing netballl duty, the others being Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. ‘Once again I think it will be Zimbabwe who are our toughest test but at least this time it’s on neutral territory,’ said Van Dyk.

Official team picture of Team SA at this week’s holding camp courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen

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