Sinesipho is netball's latest gem
Sinesipho Willie is probably the shortest player at the week-long Spar national netball championships in Durban.
However, she has emerged as one of the most popular since coming on as a substitute for Western Cape on Day 1.
Chants of "Willie! Willie" greeted her as she made her entrance, taking part in an event that, had Netball SA not ordered that Proteas players skip, she may have missed.
Willie, 24, is actually a member of Western Cape's B-team, but was promoted to the A-side by coach Annelie Lucas.
Willie has made the most of the opportunity.
"It's awesome being here," said the University of Western Cape (UWC) student.
"It means a lot to me, I may not have been playing had the Proteas been here."
She is now hoping to impart the experience gained from the tournament, which concludes tomorrow, in the upcoming Varsity Netball Cup.
Eastern Cape-born Willie trekked to the Western Cape a few years ago to study computer science at UWC.
However, netball has consumed her so much that she moonlights as a part-time coach. "It's a passion," Willie said. "I became interested in netball 15 years ago after seeing kids play and I wanted to be like them."
For her lack of height, Willie compensates that with energy and an amazing leap which, for a defender, helps greatly in overturning possession and setting up quick attacks.
"My coach [Lucas] has told me to use my quick feet to chase and go for interceptions. I have a bit of elevation. I'm happy with my progress."
Meanwhile, Willie and teammates hope to defend their title in tomorrow's final against Gauteng at the Hoy Park Sports Complex.
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