Grace Matyayi received top honors at the recently concluded 21st edition of the Namibian Newspaper Cup which was held in the Otjozondjupa region. 

The 17-year-old, Grade 12 learner at Otjiwarongo Secondary School scooped the tournament’s Best Netball player, SRSM chats to Matyayi about her achievement and Netball journey. 


Thank you for chatting to us, please tell us about yourself and where you are from?

I am Grace Matyayi, a young cheerful person who loves to keep busy with school work or home chores when I am not playing netball. Born in Windhoek some 17 years ago and grew up in Okahandja, I am an enthusiastic person with a simple desire to just be happy. I am currently a Grade 12 Learner at Otjiwarongo Secondary School.

How was your childhood like?

I was born in a Christian family and my childhood was shaped by a great parental support system, who have always believed in the Lord as our redeemer. Perhaps that’s where the blessings come from. 

My childhood was very spectacular and fun, since I always liked to play soccer and netball in the streets of Okahandja with my friends and cousins or just playing any fun-sports, including all the type of childlike games such as hide and seek. 

Going to church on Sundays as well as on Saturdays for choir practice, remains a routine, including early morning church service during week days, these routines played a big role in shaping my childhood. In a nutshell my childhood was mostly about playing and running around. 

You were recently awarded the overall Best Netball Player at the Namibian Newspaper Cup, what does this mean to you?

This is a great honor and I am profoundly humbled, to receive the award for the second year in a row. It means a great deal to me because at that moment when I received the “Best Overall Player” award it was my believe that it’s a recognition for my hard work, commitment to sports and specifically the talent which I believe is God given. 

I’m grateful that I was chosen amongst 168 talented players. I believe it’s not only an individual effort but a combined effort, thanks to my team mates, my coach at school and Coach Marvelous Khaebes-Ochar for believing in me. It means a lot to me personally. 

What did it mean for you to represent Otjozondjupa Region?

Woow, Otjozondjupa is such a great region with vast landscapes and diverse communities and cultures. I feel privileged to play for and represent this beautiful region. 

It means a lot to me personally and I feel honored to be part of the great Otjozondjupa Netball Team. I just love to be here, it’s an oasis of great opportunities with one of the best schools, sport facilities especially in Otjiwarongo. Yes, what a privilege it is. 

What do you make of your region hosting and ending second at this year’s Newspaper cup?

We remain a great team and it was one of my best experiences so far, Otjozondjupa taking second place in the tournament is a great achievement.

 I say so because it is our first time to reach the final since we started participating in the Annual Namibian Newspaper Cup. 

Becoming second was not our goal or aim as a hosting regional team, in fact we prepared ourselves well, the coaches and the leadership of Otjozondjupa kept motivating us and pushed us to the edge, we practiced but I guess Khomas Region was just lucky the second time. 

It was the best opportunity for all sports lovers in Otjozondjupa. I felt so excited to be playing at home in Otjiwarongo and yes! the organization of the 21st Edition of the Namibian Newspaper Cup 2023 was top class, well organized and best of its kind thus far. The crowd was exciting, motivating and cheering on for us to play hard. We are a great team still and I enjoyed every moment. 

At what age did you start partaking in Netball and is this something you want to take to professional level?

 Actually, I come from a family lineage of sportsmen and women, my mother, my 4 aunties both were great netball players and athletes for local teams and company teams as well. In fact, one of my uncles Augustinus Matyayi played for a Premier League team “Cuca Tops” in the 80/90s as well as Civic Football Club in Windhoek. 

While I think this runs in the blood, my sports journey began from a Childhood level at home, I started at senior Primary while I was 9 years old. 

I also played for GW Secondary School in Okahandja and in 2021 I moved to Otjiwarongo Secondary School where I now play for the School Team and got scouted to represent Otjozondjupa Region last year 2022 in Oshakati and where I was selected last year to play for the Namibia Under 19 Netball National Team where we went to represent Namibia in Malawi in 2022. 

What did your family and friends make of your achievement?

They are highly proud, and they are very supportive off me to explore my talent, I am grateful for such a great circle of friends, teachers, coaches and family. 

They congratulated me and our regional team they blessed me with good compliment and gifts. 

What are some of your goals in life?

My goals in life are to serve the Lord and become a successful person in life. 

I plan to study hard to pass my Grade 12 this year and get a Scholarship to pursue my studies at home or abroad towards a graduate Degree. 

Secondly, to play netball for a reputable Premier League Team in the Country or abroad, as well as to represent Namibia with Netball National Team. 

How important is it for you to get an education?

My primary focus is my education because it plays a huge role in a person’s life. 

I believe that as a person your education and your sport must collaborate with each other. 

Education is important to me because I believe that it is the greatest equaliser to liberate the mind. If sports does not open doors for you then you will have your education by your side. 

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by the word of God, in the Bible and secondly by my parental support system. The people in my family circle that believes in me especially my mother who raised me. They are wonderful people. 

What is a quote you live by?

“If you want to live like a Queen, you will have to work like a slave”

What is your advice to young girls that want to play sports?

There are consequences that an athlete can face or go through in life, however, one must NEVER GIVE UP on chasing their dreams in life. No matter what the world will say about you whether good or bad, just focus on what you love to do. Put your Education first and while maintaining your commitment to sport which will help you with mental fitness. 

Remember, “Hard work beats Talent” 

Fun facts:

Favorite Namibian Netball player: Emily Kutako

Nickname: Emmy

Netball position: Goal Defender (GD)

Dream tournament to play in: The Netball World Cup

If you were not a Netball player you would be: I guess I would probably be a long distant Athletic or a sprinter, but it’s only God that knows.



Netball player and Umpire Zelma Bittler recently obtained an umpiring Gold accreditation, a step closer for Bittler to officiate in Africa and the rest of the World.

Hailing from Walvis Bay, Bittler had to overcome hardships to attain her dreams today an accountant by profession Bittler speaks to SRSM, on her journey of becoming one of the most qualified umpires in Netball Namibia.

SRSM, thank you for chatting to us. Tell us about your background and upbringing?

I was born and raised in Walvis Bay, I lost my father when I was 12 and I grew up with my older sister we practically raised ourselves because my mom is based in the north and she was unemployed at the time. Growing up in Secondary School I had work after school and during holidays just to feed my sister and I, as well as pay school fees.

 What sports did you play growing up, and how did you develop the love for Netball?

I played netball from grade 1 at Immanuel Ruiters primary school till date, Netball was just my favourite sports since I was young so the love was already there before I even knew it.

What keeps you motivated to keep playing?

The love of the game is my motivation, in addition the young girls we keeping out of the streets is my biggest motivation to stay in the game.

What inspired you to become an umpire?

Well umpiring really just started for me because every team had to provide an umpire as a requirement of the Khomas league rules, so at the time when we started the team most players where beginners so I was the only one who knew the rules at the point.

Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a great umpire?

I believe my strength as an umpire is because I myself am a player so I would never want to be officiated unfairly. So my strength is honesty and fair umpiring.

What does getting a gold accreditation mean for you?

Its mean that I’m not far from receiving accreditation for Africa and after worldwide so I can be umpiring at the netball world cup.

What opportunities are there for Netball umpires?

The opportunities are not so many but I believe it will become more as the years go and the game gets more exposure and one gains experience, if not here in Namibia one can try around the world.

Why are you so passionate about playing Netball and umpiring?

The main reason I am passionate about netball and umpiring is because one sees how the people that our team has groomed has grown to national players, some got jobs and others turn passion into something profitable.

What keeps you going?

My husband keeps me going, he keeps reminding me that I am good, I am talented and I am an inspiration to most of the girls.

Is there an umpire or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?

My role model is Annie Kloppers, she is an international umpire from South Africa, she is 55 years old and still umpiring international games.

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

I see myself as an international umpire and running an umpiring academy to give back to the nation.

What advice do you have for the girl child?

 I advise the girl child to never give up on any of their dreams no matter how hard it seems. I believe with God, being humble, hardworking and with discipline you can get anywhere in life.


Teams Gain Promotion to MTC Namibian Netball Premier League

Netball Namibia President Rebecca Goagoses has expressed her satisfaction with the level of play displayed during the recent MTC NNPL play-offs. 

The play-offs, which took place at the Wanderers netball court over the weekend, saw nine teams compete for a place in the top flight netball league.

The five teams that won their respective regional leagues, as well as the four teams that finished at the bottom of the 2022 netball season, took part in the play-offs. 

Photo: Contributed

After a full day of intense competition, Fatou NC, Northern Fly Ballers NC, Wanderers NC, and Young Stars emerged as the winners and gained promotion to the MTC NNPL.

Wanderers head coach, Erica van Zyl, was confident in her team’s abilities from the start and praised their hard work and practice leading up to the play-offs. She said,

“I knew from the beginning that my team had the capacity to advance to the MTC NNPL. We have quality players, some of whom have been exposed to the highest level of the netball game. Despite the difficulty, I had no doubt that we would make it through,” she said

The president of Netball Namibia was impressed with the overall performance of all teams during the play-offs and expressed her satisfaction with the competition.

“I am happy with how the play-offs went. It went as planned, thanks to our sponsors MTC, who ensured that everything went smoothly. In terms of the quality of play on the court, all teams showed that they deserved to be in the premier league, showcasing the style of play that demonstrates the growth of netball in the region. With opportunities provided to all regions, the premier league will continue to attract more quality players,” she said

The new netball season is expected to commence in March 2023, with Otjiwarongo-based Mighty Gunners reigning as the current champions. With the impressive display of talent during the play-offs, fans can anticipate a high level of netball play when the league begins.


New Netball Premier League Champions: Mighty Gunners

Strong Gunners

By: Leena Ndakevondjo

Photographs: Contributed

Mighty Gunners are the winners of the MTC Netball Premier League that concluded over the past weekend at the Patrick Iyambo college in Windhoek.

Gunners played a total of 22 games this season and drop no ball winning all their games, concluding the season on a high note defeating the Namibia Correctional Service Netball club 46: 36 on the final day of the season.

Hilma Ndapewa Dawid, coach of Mighty Gunners said the season went according to plan, their aim was to win the title and are happy that they managed to reach their goal.

“We are looking forward to turning the negatives into positives and to ensure that we strengthen the team further for us to come back stronger next season”, she said.  

Dawid says they have learned a lot, their biggest lesson being that it is not easy to win the title, it took them a lot of hard work, commitment, sacrifices, and perseverance.

“I think the main mistake we did last season was that we scored less goals unlike this season, and the other mistake was that we didn’t work on our fitness much, but we managed to rope in a fitness trainer this season which made a big difference,” she added

Gunners did not encounter any severe injuries during the season, however they lost one of their best player, Tiny Tjozongoro who went abroad midway through the season.

Gunners managed to be champions due to the team effort that was in place, “our main aim was to win the title so we worked hard and we were guided by the 5P’s, which are PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE” Dawid said.

Gunners’ defender Ray Amukwaya stood out as the best player this season, “she was absolutely exceptional in défense, always on top of her game and was very consistent” as stated by her team players.

After the final game of the season, Gunners player Tutzi tjihero, expressed that it was a fantastic feeling to win this year’s league after setting a goal of winning, which they achieved.

“We have been consistent throughout the past two seasons, our superpower is that we put in a lot of work during this season to get stronger”, she added.

Gunners currently don’t have new players but will surely get new players going into the new season as they are looking forward to strengthening the team.

Dawid concluded that they won’t really do much to retain the title, “We will continue working hard, strengthen the team and rectify all the shortcomings” she said


Mupenda Shines in Varsity Netball

By: Joviita Kandjumbwa

A dream chaser, Namibian Netball player Cornelia Mupenda took no time to settle into the University of Johannesburg Netball team cementing her place in the first team and becoming a force to be reckoned with. By the end of her first year in the team, Mupenda scooped the best defender of 2021 and UJNC Recognition Award National, this is only the beginning for Mupenda as she is just getting started.
Speaking to SRSM, second-year Public Relations student Mupenda expresses her desire to achieve more both in her career and education.

Who is Cornelia Mupenda?

Cornelia Mupenda is a 21-year-old Dhemba girl, born and raised in Omaruru. She’s very passionate and goal-oriented. Loves spending time with her family.

When did your love for Netball start?

Well, I started playing netball in 2008, I was in grade 1 by that time. I didn’t take netball as serious because I was still young and didn’t know it would change my life as it did now. My passion for netball started when I made my first national colours and that was 2012. This is because I had a purpose and I was just not playing for the fun of playing netball any longer.

Did you partake in other sports besides Netball?

Yes, I did, I did athletics from grade 1 to grade 11.

Have you always been a defender, if not how do you transition into other roles?
Well, I have been a defender although I enjoy playing the GS position.

Being a student how do you balance school and sports?
Firstly, it takes discipline for someone to balance between Academics and sports. And I think I’m disciplined enough to balance between the two and stay consistent in both sports and academics.

When did you start playing for UJ and how has it been so far?
I’ve been at UJ since last year. My experience here is wholesome. I feel home and I always feel like I’m a step closer to my dreams. Being coached by the Spar Proteas Captain is a dream come true and I will always be grateful for that.

How different is Netball in South Africa compared to Namibia?

There’s not really a big difference between the two because we have more or less have the same playing style as South Africans. Other than that, I’d say there’s exposure here than in Namibia.

How important is education for athletes?

What most people don’t understand is that you need school to do sports on a higher level. As much as talent is there one needs marks to be granted an opportunity. SCHOOL IS VERY IMPORTANT.

What would you still like to Achieve?

There are so many things I still want to achieve, be it school, personal life and sports.

What has been your greatest achievement so far as a netball player?

Playing for my country and UJ

What advice do you have for young girls who want to play sports?

I’d like to say to the girl child to believe in their dreams and always work hard for what they want and always remember that it won’t be handed to you. You need to put in the extra work and always remember to pray and enjoy the journey. No matter how many mistakes you make you are still ahead of everyone that’s not trying.

Fun Facts about Cornelia:

Nickname: Corry

Age: 21

Studying: Public Relations

Favorite Netball player: Shamera Sterling

What do you do when not playing Netball:

Catching up on school and sleep.

Dream Destination: England

If you were not a Netball player, what would you be:

If I wasn’t a netball player, I’d be an athlete.

What no one knows about you:

I’m actually funny.


Mighty Gunners for the Win

Mighty Gunners 2022 MTC Netball Premier League Champions
By: Leena Ndakevondjo
Photo: MTC

After winning every game they played this season, Mighty Gunners were crowned the new MTC Netball Premier League Champions.
Over the weekend, the league came to an end, with the champions taking home N$120 000, second place Namibia Navy Netball Club earning N$80 000, and third place Namibia Correctional Services Netball Club earning N$60 000. Imelda Nerongo, the secretary general of Namibia Netball, claimed that the league this year was thrilling and that MTC’s sponsorship has significantly aided in the league’s growth.

She stated that this competition was among the greatest that the majority of national players participated in all year.
MTC corporate communication specialist Fikameni Mathias stated that they are thrilled and delighted with the outcome. “Netball is one of the nation’s fastest-growing sports, the league is competitive” however Mathias asserted that things can only become better if the first division is fixed. Mathias went on to say that investing in the girl Child is something that all Namibians should do.

Daisy Namases, team manager of Mighty Gunners, indicated that they made it clear from the start of the season that they wanted to win the championship in a fair and impartial manner.
“We will double whatever we have for next year and emerge stronger again.” Namases added that the team members have improved, and winning is the outcome of their improvement.
Rebbeca Goagoses, vice president of Namibia Netball, said the league has been competitive throughout the season and the league has really improved since last year.

Goagoses attributed that competition has really been tight and disappointments were seen in last year’s winners.
Namibia Navy Netball Club player Anna Casper, worked away with a cash price of N$50 000, as the League’s top goal scorer with 86%.
Saturday’s results:
Namibian Correction Services NC 44: 39 Rebels NC, Tigers NC 64:36 Young Stars NC, Eleven Arrows NC 43:54 Otjozondjupa Nampol NC, Blue Waters NC 15 :0 Grootfontein NC, Afrocat Lions NC 41:51 Namibian Navy NC, Eleven Arrows NC 50:25 Northern Fly Ballers NC, Otjozondjupa Nampol NC 59:33 Young Stars NC, Rebels NC 22:45 Tigers NC, Namibian Correction Services 36:42 Mighty Gunners NC