A born and bred Mbombelan, Lentsa Motau is a rising star in the netball world.
With the announcement in March that South Africa will host the Netball World Cup in 2023, she is over the moon.
This will be the first time ever that the Netball World Cup will be held on the continent of Africa. “It is going to be a very big thing and I think a lot of the girls are prepping for it right now. Netball is definitely growing tremendously in South Africa and people have worked very hard to get us into a premier league. Also, the amount of coverage that we get on SuperSport helps to get more and more people interested in it,” she smiles.
Lentsa, previous captain of the Mpumalanga Sunbird netball team, is also part of a South African netball practice squad that is currently preparing for the Netball World Cup 2019, which is going to take place in Liverpool, England in July. The final team going to the World Cup will be announced before the end of the month.
Lentsa’s love of netball comes a long way. She was born and raised in Mbombela and started playing netball in grade two at Laerskool Nelspruit. When she was only 12 years old, she was chosen for the provincial team. After she matriculated at Hoërskool Nelspruit, she went to Potchefstroom to study for a degree in BComm marketing at North-West University. She has fond memories of her time there. She also played netball for North West.
“One thing about Potch is that it is very cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. Although it is very much an Afrikaans environment, I adapted quickly, both because of netball and the Afrikaans that I learnt during my school years at NHS. The first two years after I graduated, I always wanted to go back and see my friends,” laughs Lentsa.
She currently works as part of the marketing team at Hoërskool Nelspruit, where she does a lot of outreach programmes as well as scouts for young talent in various primary schools. She also coaches the school’s first netball team. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of injuries in the team, but I am very proud of the girls. The Proteas’ head coach, Norma Plummer, has introduced quite a few new things and I am taking it back home to the NHS girls,” she says.
Playing netball is not her only skill. The beautiful Lentsa also did some modelling work, and she was crowned as Miss Mamelodi Sundowns Mpumalanga for 2017/18. She has always dreamt of taking part in Miss South Africa, but unfortunately, her work and netball career take up most of her time.
In her final year at Potch, Lentsa was chosen as a member of the team that was taking part in the Fast Five World Series. This event happened at the same time as her final exams and so she wasn’t able to join. Fast Five is a variation of netball featuring shortened games and goals worth multiple points.
“One thing that I teach my netball team is that there is life after this sport. I had to make a very difficult decision then, but hopefully I will get a chance to represent the Protea team in 2023,” she smiles.
To Lentsa, netball is much more than just a game of 60 minutes, divided into four quarters. It is hard work, but at the same time fun. “It teaches you a lot of dynamics: from working with different personalities, to getting coached and taking instructions from different people. In netball you learn a lot about yourself – how much you can take, and how much you can’t,” she says.
Playing this sport year-round means Lentsa is always as fit as a fiddle. She has enrolled for a post-graduate degree in marketing at the Tswhane University of Technology and is part of its netball team that is going to take part in the USSA Netball League. She plays wing defence and goal defence, which involves a lot of running around to keep up with your opponent.
Regarding any dreams for this year’s World Cup, Lentsa explains that currently South Africa has eight professional netballers who play in overseas leagues who will obviously make the Protea team for the World Cup. Luckily one of the things that she has learnt in life, and is teaching her netball team, is that you have to accept that things will not always go your way.
“I always tell the girls that netball is just a game. If you win a game, it is great. Then you celebrate and move on. If you lose, you can’t lie down. In my heart I know that you only have today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Therefore, I live today as it comes, playing the best netball I can!”