Proteas veterans Phumza Maweni and Bongiwe Msomi have hung up their netball shoes after illustrious careers.
Phumza Maweni began her journey at 28 and has been a part of the Proteas environment for the last nine years. She would debut in 2014 against Scotland, play in three World Cups, and represent South Africa on 121 occasions.
“The past years have exceeded all expectations, transforming into a journey of a lifetime. This sport has shaped me into a confident and powerful woman, far beyond what I could have envisioned. I cherish and acknowledge every aspect of this experience,” she said.
Maweni began her career with the Southern Stings in the Brutal Fruit Netball League (now Telkom Netball League) before an overseas move saw her play for Loughborough Lightning, Severn Stars and Team Bath in the UK.
Most recently, she plied her craft in Australia with the Sunshine Coast Lightning alongside Karla Pretorius before returning home and joining the Western Cape Southern Stings for the 2023 season, captaining the team in the process.
The 39-year-old stepped on the court for the last time last week against England in Nottingham.
“I have taken the time to reflect and think, and I am sad to announce that the time has come for me to gracefully exit the court, making space for the emerging stars awaiting their chance,” she said.
“The unwavering support of my son and family throughout my netball journey has been invaluable and they rightfully deserve more of my time and attention.
“The past years have exceeded all expectations, transforming into a journey of a lifetime. This sport has shaped me into a confident and powerful woman, far beyond what I could have envisioned. I cherish and acknowledge every aspect of this experience.”
Maweni will still be in the game, but on the sideline as a coach.
“Moving forward, I intend to contribute to the sport from the sidelines, fostering growth, development and coaching for the next generation of superstars,” she said.
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Captain Bongi Msomi ended her career with 171 caps – South Africa’s most-capped player of all time. Her career spanned over a decade, debuting in 2011 against Singapore and was handed the role of captain in 2016.
“The decision to retire comes after careful consideration, but I am so grateful that I can make this announcement with a full heart, knowing that I leave the Proteas and South African netball in a very healthy space,” said Msomi in a statement.
Msomi will continue her role as manager and netball coach at the University of Johannesburg.
“Although it is the end of one chapter, it is now the start of another that I am so excited about. I remain as passionate as ever about coaching netball, and I cannot wait to continue developing this side of my career, with special thanks to the University of Johannesburg for already allowing me to begin this process,” she said.
“I will remain a proud ambassador for the beautiful sport of netball, and I will remain fully committed to maintaining my humanitarian and philanthropic endeavours.
“To this end, I look forward to being able to give more of my time and attention to the Bongi Msomi Legacy Project and various community outreach projects and grassroots development, particularly in places such as my home town of Hammarsdale.
“In many ways, this is just the start of big things to come.”