When Jessica Khomo returned to competitive netball in this year’s Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League (BFNPL) she wanted to be relevant. And that she certainly was.
The 26 year-old Khomo, a member of the South African Fast5 team who’s competing in the World Series in Melbourne, Australia this weekend, was out of netball for almost two years.
In her very first match back for KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars in April she earned herself the Player of the Match award and that in a losing course against the Eastern Cape Aloes. She continued to impress and was on the shortlist from which the Defender of the Series were chosen.
“My goal when I came back was to be relevant and make the Protea squad. Hard work, self-belief and a great support system all contributed to a good year’s netball,” she said.
Khomo continued her good form into the SPAR National Championship and although KZN only managed three wins from seven matches, she did enough to convince the selectors of the #SAFast5 team. Khomo was also named as the tournament’s best defender.
She represented the Kingdom Stars in 2014 and only played the first weekend of 2015 (in which she also earned a Player of the Match prize) when she had to make the decision to quit the game.
“I wasn’t coping with work, studying, family and netball all at once. There was never enough time for everything, so I had to pull out of the team because of time management. I missed the game on a competitive level and I am able to manage my time better now,” the mother of a five year-old son explained. She is a grade 5 to 8 teacher in Umgababa, a community in eThekwini and is still studying.
She will be the third player from KZN after Bongi Msomi and Precious Mthembu to represent her country in the short version of the game.
It will be her first exposure to Fast5 at this level, but will have a few familiar faces around. In 2010 she was part of the South African U/20 team which included current Fast5 teammates Lauren-Lee Christians, Fikile Mkhuzangwe and Zanne-Marie Pienaar. “It is great playing with them; it just made it easier coming into a team with people I know.”
Khomo can play both goal keeper and goal defence, but prefers goal defence.
The Fast5 Netball World Series will be broadcast LIVE across SuperSport SS9, SS11 and CSN from 04:30 on Saturday 28 October and from 03:00 on SS5, SS9, SS11 and CSN on Sunday 29 October. See more broadcast details here: http://bit.ly/2qcPfPM