Tuks netball team captain Phophi Nematangari. Photo supplied.

Phophi leads the netball Baby Proteas


One of Vhembe’s own netball stars is continuing to impress on the national and international stage. Phophi Nematangari from Duthuni is currently captaining both the University of Pretoria’s (Tuks) first team and the South African Youth netball side (Baby Proteas).

The third-year BCom student started playing netball at a young age. In 2021, she represented South Africa at the U/19 African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games in Lesotho. South Africa won gold in this tournament. The next year, Phophi was again selected to represent the U/19 side, and the team was triumphant at the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games in Malawi.

In March this year, she captained the South African team at the 2025 World Netball Youth Cup - Africa Qualifiers. Her team qualified for the Africa tournament after an unbeaten campaign. She also received the Centre Court Player of the Tournament award.

Phophi acknowledges that for netball to grow as a major sport in the country will take time. One of the biggest challenges is having tournaments and competing against other countries. Nematangari says that, in the past, netball had not been given the same opportunities to play as some other sports such as soccer and rugby.

For Nematangari, sport is much more than just winning medals. She says it helped her stay focused on her life goals. “It has taught me to be strong and to be unapologetic about my capabilities as a woman,” she says. Nematangari says she has dreamt not only of wearing the green and gold but also of leading the team in a big tournament. "It is a great honour and privilege to be named captain of the Baby Proteas, but it still feels surreal. It has always been a dream to play for the Baby Proteas, but to be named captain of the group still blows my mind. It’s something I don’t take lightly,” says Nematangari.

She encourages youngsters to stay focused if they want to achieve their dreams and to make a significant contribution to the community in which they live. “The youth must stay away from drugs and criminal activities and prepare themselves for careers that will benefit them in life.”

She says that discipline is key, and education is of primary importance for their future. “Those who have talent, balance your netball career with education. You do not play netball until you die.”


Sport - Date: 20 April 2024

Recent Articles

Search for a story:




Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

Email: [email protected]