Msomi and Maweni Announce Their Retirement
Written by Neo Molefi on December 18, 2023
Written By: Karabo Peter
The SPAR Proteas 2023 netball season wrapped up in December against England in the Vitality Netball Series and so did the careers of two of South Africa’s most influential netball players. Phumza Maweni and SPAR Proteas captain, Bongi Msomi decided to hang their netball boots, announcing their retirement as players bringing an end to their illustrious careers.
Southern Stings defender, Phumza Maweni started playing at the age of 28, making her international debut back in 2014 against Scotland. Since then, the outgoing SPAR Proteas legend has represented South Africa in three World Cups and earned 121 caps, with her final match being against England in December 2023.
Between the time Maweni made her international debut to her final match, the SPAR Proteas defender also represented the Western Province playing for the Southern Stings in the then Brutal fruit Netball League (now Telkom Netball League). She also played for some of the finest clubs overseas, namely Loughborough Lighting, Severn Stars, Team Bath based in the UK, and Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia.
Maweni believes that her retirement is an opportunity to make room for new and emerging players.
“I Have taken the time to reflect and think, and I am sad to announce that the time has come for me to gracefully exit the court, making space for the emerging stars awaiting their chance. The unwavering support of my son and family throughout my netball journey has been invaluable, and they rightfully deserve more of my time and attention. Moving forward, I intend to contribute to the sport from the sidelines, fostering growth, development, and coaching for the next generation of superstars,” said Maweni on an Instagram post.
“The past years have exceeded all expectations, transforming into a journey of a lifetime. This sport has shaped me into a confident and powerful woman, far beyond what I could have envisioned. I cherish and acknowledge every aspect of this experience,” Maweni concluded.
A day after Maweni’s announcement, Bongi Msomi also revealed that she will be closing the curtain to her career. “The decision to retire comes after careful consideration, but I am so grateful that I can make this announcement with a full heart, knowing that I leave the SPAR Proteas and South African netball in a very healthy space. I am eternally grateful to all the coaches, colleagues, and teammates who have played instrumental roles during my career- there are too many to mention, but you know who you are! Thisha (Mr SG Mncwabe), I will forever thank you for seeing the talent in me and going the extra mile to make sure I become more than just an athlete in netball,” said Msomi.
She leaves the game of netball with 171 caps and is currently the most capped player in the history of the team thus far. The center court player joined the national squad in 2011 at the age of 23 and became captain in 2016 until her retirement in 2023. She led the team to the 2019 and 2023 Netball World Cups in Liverpool and Cape Town, where they finished fourth and fifth respectively. Msomi also played in Australia for the Adelaide Thunderbirds and in England for the Surrey Storm and Wasp before returning to South Africa to coach the University of Johannesburg while playing for the Gauteng Golden Fireballs in the Telkom Netball League.
Msomi concluded by special mention of Norma Plummer who coached the South African squad between 2015-2019 and 2022-2023. “You are such an inspiration to me, and you definitely kept me going on the court much longer than I thought I might have. From you, I learned how to lead selflessly, as well as to see, love and understand the in-depth part of coaching, and to appreciate the sport even more”.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done for netball in our country. You and your team have been awesome. of course, a special thank you also has to go to my wonderful family and my partner Raeesa, who have supported me every step of the way on this journey.
Another message of immense gratitude must go to my other ‘family’, Roc Nation Sports International, for believing in me from day one and offering incredible support and guidance on and off the court.
A massive thank you must go to Netball SA for backing me and for respecting me as the SPAR Proteas captain over the past years. It has been a great honour to work with you all and I appreciate you so much. I will also be grateful to my various sponsors and partners that have been part of this wonderful netball journey.”