UKZN Hosts Landmark National Goalball Tournament
The UKZN goalball team continued its promotion of disability sport by hosting and participating in its first national tournament. The tournament on 24 August in the Pietermaritzburg Student Union hall attracted six teams from across the country, including the University of Limpopo; Bartimea School for the Blind and Deaf; Motheo TVET College; Thiboloha TVET College; Tshwane University of Technology; and South West Gauteng TVET College. The UKZN team was split into a men’s and women’s team, resulting in eight teams participating.
Originally a rehabilitation exercise, goalball is a team sport designed for athletes with a visual impairment, in which teams of three compete to throw an adapted ball, with bells embedded in it, into the opponent’s goal. It has been a recognised Paralympic sport since the 1976 Toronto Games and globally more than 80 national teams are competitively active. The UKZN team, which has been competing nationally since April 2019, was recently selected to play under the uMgungundlovu District.
Both teams performed exceptionally well, with the men reaching the semi-finals and the women’s team narrowly missing out on the knockout stages, after defeat against Thiboloha, in the final leg of the group stage. After defeat against Bartimea in the semi-final, UKZN’s men’s team placed fourth overall behind (first) the University of Limpopo; (second) Motheo; and (third) Bartimea.
A highlight of the tournament was the 6-1 victory for the UKZN men’s team against Tshwane University of Technology where Mr Nkanyiso Mchunu scored four goals and the team performed beyond expectations in defence. Overall UKZN notched up 10 goals.
‘The Tournament was a success and we were proud to host it. Our loss in the semi-final shows us that there are skills and rules we have to work hard on improving,’ said Mchunu. Ms Precious Mfeka commented: ‘I really enjoyed the tournament. Although we did not win, it was a good learning experience and we aim to improve in the future.’
The UKZN team manager, Mr Derrick Munyai, and coach, Mr Phiwayinkosi Mungwe conveyed a special note of thanks to Ms Kholose Biyana of Banyana Banyana for her generous sponsorship of the UKZN teams’ kit; as well as the Differentially Abled Students’ Association executive, in particular sporting director Mr Sithabiso Zulu; the office of Student Governance and Leadership Development; and Campus Management Services for their contribution to this milestone for disability sport at UKZN.
Words: Ashley Subbiah