Maweni says retiring from netball has been tough 

Former Spar Proteas and South African netball veteran Phumza Maweni is still struggling to adjust to her retirement from the game even though she has accepted her playing days are over. 

Having competed in some of the best and toughest leagues in the world, Maweni donned the green and gold for the last time at the 2023 Netball World, which was staged on home soil in Cape Town. 

The 39-year-old said life has not been the same since announcing her retirement five months ago. 

“Life hasn’t been easy because you know when you’re used to being on the court every day then suddenly you realise that you are not anymore. 

“My retirement is worse because it’s still fresh – it’s still five months in retirement so it has been tough. There were times when I did not want to watch the TNL [Telkom Netball League] because I would be like, ‘It is too early, and I could still be playing,’ but I have accepted that my playing days are done, and I need to move on. 

“But, as tough as it is, it is worth it because now I can manage to do some of the things I couldn’t do when I was playing. I have a business on the side and a foundation that I am running – things that I believe will help sustain my life and that of my family.” 

One would want to believe that for every aspiring professional athlete growing up under harsh conditions in rural areas, the goal is to get their family out of poverty and put their name on the map by representing them at the highest level. 

For Maweni who hails from the small town of Cala, in the Eastern Cape, it was precisely that as she treasures most the opportunity to carry her family name on the back of her national team jersey at the Netball World Cup stage, not once or twice, but three times. 

“I have quite a lot of fond memories and highlights but to name a few I would say that being able to stay true to myself was very important for me during my playing career and representing my country at the highest level for 10 years, something that I never thought I would achieve,” Maweni told Sunday World.  

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