DESERT Jewel Monica Gomases intends to continue shining in South Africa where she won a second successive Telkom Netball League crown on Sunday.
Gomases helped the Golden Fireballs clinch South Africa's premier netball tournament title with a hard-fought 35-32 Division One final victory over her former club Gauteng Jaguars.
After starring for the Jaguars last season, including a player-of-the-match performance in the final, the 20-year-old Namibian star was among several new recruits brought in to bolster the Fireballs' push for honours.
She delivered, picking up two most valuable player (MVP) accolades along the way.
"Yes, the competition was tough. The Telkom Netball League is class. The standard is [that] the best in the business compete in this league. So, it is a privilege to play among the best and to learn from them," Gomases told The Namibian Sport this week.
Gomases paid tribute to her teammates and coaches for creating a family-like environment which helps elevate her performances.
"I'd like to give credit to our coach and teammates for always working hard and supporting each other. We couldn't have done this without one another," said the modest top performer.
"I think this was a challenge for us, coming through from all different provinces. We were quite a new team. We were able to work very hard, and that is what gave us the edge in the final."
The team from south of Gauteng showed intent to dominate the competition from the opening week at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, making a clean sweep there.
But also beating their crosstown rivals for the first time in the history of the competition in the opening week.
The Fireballs had a historical season, losing only one match in the group stages, a revenge win for the Jaguars to finish top of the Division One table with 18 points after 10 matches.
Their semi-final match against former winners Crinums was a close call.
The Free State side dominated the first half of the match only for the Fireballs to make a comeback in the third quarter, which ended in a 37-37, and the Fireballs held their nerve to win that game 49-47.
They continued to show the same kind of flame in the final, leading the game from the first quarter until the last, although the Jaguars were fighting back in the final quarter and narrowed the lead but were not able to defend their title.
"It is my second time being champion, and it's just a great honour to be able to play netball here. I'm just really grateful and humbled by all of this," said Gomases, whose next ambition is to play the the Netball World Cup next year.
Given their low status, Namibia realistically only have an outside chance of making the global spectacle. But Gomases believes it is not inconceivable that the Desert Jewels can reach the finals.
"For the future, I just want to focus on netball, of course playing for my country, and to make sure we qualify for the 2023 World Cup that is going to be hosted in Cape Town," Gomases said.
"I think it is a goal that is a priority for Netball Namibia at the moment. It would be great to have us getting into international competition to weigh out against the best. I think we have great players and the talent to do so."|
Gomases has been driven to make the most of her talents from her days at St Joseph's Primary School at Rehoboth, and then Windhoek Gymnasium Private School.
"As for me, I would like to continue playing in the Telkom Netball League and hopefully one day play overseas as well," she said.