shooter has Guts
Tsakane Mbewe, the South African national netball team goal shooter, is a fighter.
During the international tour by Barbados last year, Mbewe's name shot to prominence when she almost single-handedly destroyed the visiting Caribbeans.
In the second test of that three-match tour, Mbewe won herself many fans when she had a 100% average, scoring all her attempts at goal.
The team then toured Jamaica and though they lost their two tests, they did reasonably well against a team ranked fourth in the world.
Twenty-two-year old Mbewe, who was born and still lives in Tembisa, and her compatriots Claudia Basson, Mary Ngwenya and Precious Mthembu, has been a vital part of the new-look Proteas under new coach Carin Strauss.
Mbewe credits her time with the under-21 team as critical in turning her into the netballer she is today.
"I made my international debut at that level and have played my part in ensuring that that team achieved a lot of things," said Mbewe.
Despite her excellent showing last year, she admits the transition to the senior team did not go as smoothly as she would have wanted.
She practically hovered on the periphery of the national team during Burtha de Kock's reign as national coach.
A tinge of regret entered her voice when she related the events that almost led to her quitting the game last year.
"We went to New Zealand for the World Championship for two weeks and I only played for 45 minutes in all that time. Leaving your family for weeks and then doing nothing must be the hardest thing for anyone," said Mbewe.
Perhaps knowing that she gave up precious time with her two-year old daughter Lungile made it harder, but what did Mbewe learn from this?
"You need a very thick skin in this game. This is what people mean when they talk about mental strength - the extent to which you cope and succeed when faced with difficulty," she said adding she intended to be in the team that will compete at the next World Championship in 2011 and help her country climb up the world rankings to the top five. They are currently seventh.