Meet rising netball star and wing attack, Tshina Mdau from Gauteng North, regarded as one of Netball South Africa’s most talented young players.
Tshinakaho Zorah Mdau, or Tshina (as her friends affectionately refer to her), was born and raised in Johannesburg. She’s currently a student in her second year, studying B.Com at the University of Pretoria, but sport has always been a big part of Tshina’s life.
“I grew up with sports. Both my brothers were sporty and I come from a very active family where we did every possible sport there is to do.” She’s not kidding either. Tshina played mini-cricket, badminton, soccer, swimming, water polo, netball and she was a professional sprinter until she matriculated at Kingsmead College in Johannesburg. For Tshina, netball always took a backseat to athletics.
But when she got to university, her entire outlook on netball changed. She never knew that she could go professional with netball and make a career of it. After failed attempts to find a personal coach, she decided to do netball to keep in shape. Her netball talents flowered and she quickly obtained her provincial colours in the sport.
The dynamic Gauteng North wing-attack got a call-up to the Netball Proteas squad a few years back and she’s settled in as an experienced player. Whilst South Africa’s netball team has not been performing to their full potential on the international stage, Tshina says that the team is finding its form and will soon become a team to fear in the netball arena.
Our sister publication, Top Performing Companies chatted to Tshina about her life, her career ambitions and what tips and advice she can provide to other aspiring netball players.
The Proteas Netball team has found some form. What do you attribute this to?
I put it down to the determination from all parties involved. I can’t really speak on behalf of management, but from a player’s perspective, the players in the system want to grow netball to a point where it can empower young girls to keep doing what they are passionate about regardless of hardship, disappointment, failures or inequality they may face. Success is about pure hard work, researching what makes other teams so successful and applying it to our team and lifestyle.
What advice can you offer other aspiring athletes?
My word of advice is, don’t stop until you reach your goals. It’s all hard work and there are many sacrifices that need to be made. Simply put: apply your mind, and you will succeed.
What’s your greatest moment in sport?
My greatest moment came when I played myself into the Proteas squad at the Spar senior championship in Cape Town in 2014. They announced the 30-girl squad the night before the finals. I didn’t make the cut, as I was 20 years old and still a newbie. However, my coach decided to make me a part of the starting line-up with netball legends like Erin Burger, Lenize Potgieter, Amanda Mynhardt and Vanes-Mari du Toit. With all that experience around me, I managed to pay the best game of my life. After the game, the executive of NSA decided to add me to the squad and I became player number 31 (laughs). That was the first time ever that happened in the netball circles.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In five years, I see myself having achieved many of my personal goals. But sports-wise, it would be a dream come true just to make the netball national team and tour with them. I keep my fingers crossed that I make the team for the Commonwealth Games and play in the next World Cup.
If you weren’t an athlete, what would you be?
If I weren’t an athlete, I would be a nerd or a bookworm. I enjoy learning new things and am persistent in researching, knowing where to find information and how to use it in any social and/or professional gathering. But once my netball career is done I want to be a farmer.