GOLDREEF coach Samuel Riyano, believes his side have the potential to become one of the top netball teams in the country.
The club have made some huge strides in the Rainbow Amateur Netball League.
Last year, six of their players – Nicole Muzanenhamo, Ntando Sibanda, Nobukhosi Ndlovu, Khayelihle Mabena, Nokuthula Mbano and Sinethemba Ncube — were selected into the national Under-21 side.
The national team was expected to compete at the Spar Challenge International Netball Test Series in South Africa as curtain-raisers.
However, the trip was called off.
Muzanenhamo went on to win the Rookie of the Year award at the RANL awards in December.
“As a coach one feels good, and motivated, when six players from one team (make the national team), it’s marvellous,’’ said Riyano.
“One of our players, Nicole Muzanenhamo, won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019, very impressive indeed.
“I was a bit anxious when I joined them mid-season in 2018, our position on the log was not good and we had just average players.
“In 2018, we came ninth out of 11 teams, very poor indeed, then in 2019 position 10 out of 18.’’
The club was formed in 2016 and played social league before they joined RANL two years later.
They have not yet won the league title but have stood toe-to-toe with some of the top teams.
“Before the lockdown my target was to improve our position, we wanted to challenge for a top four finish,’’ said Riyano.
“My vision is that the team should be the best in the country.
“It has been really wonderful working with club. These young players look up to you, what you tell them is what they do.
“It’s really good working with such young players, starting your own team where you know they play the way you want them to play.
“Most of them have been working together, from childhood, so they complement each other, they have been playing together from a young age.’’
However, the coach said the current situation, where the league was halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, has been a huge setback.
“The Covid-19 has really had a very negative impact on our plans,’’ the coach said.
“The players had started the season on fire and had really bonded very well.”
He paid tribute to Freestars, another club from Bulawayo, where Goldreef drew most of their players from.
“I also take my hat off to our generous great sponsor, who is also a player (Thabiso Ndlovu), to her I say thank you very much,” said Riyano.