When the final whistle sounded over her career in netball, one of NMMU’s most celebrated sports managers was more than ready to “tackle” the next challenge head on.
After more than 20 years at the helm of the Port Elizabeth university’s netball club, Theresa le Roux welcomed what she termed a “man’s job” with open arms and a vision when she recently took over the reins of the FNB Madibaz Rugby Club.
“I acknowledged that I could not achieve anything more within netball and felt that a change of focus would offer a new opportunity.”
Under her astute guidance, the SPAR Madibaz Netball Club notched up notable successes in tertiary and club tournaments all over the country and even abroad.
One of the highlights, she said, was when the “class of 2005” returned unbeaten from their tour to Birmingham in England.
The Madibaz also made the Eastern Province club league their own during her stint in charge, winning it 24 times since the early nineties.
Le Roux has mentored several players who went on to represent the Proteas, most notably Lana Krige, former captain Zanele Mdodana and Zanele Vimbela.
Not one to dwell on the past, she said her focus was squarely on the job at hand, which came with its fair share of rucks and mauls.
“Finances are always a challenge and the uncertainty surrounding Eastern Province rugby makes it difficult to recruit the right student-athletes.”
However, she believed she had a vision that would put the club on the road to overcoming a number of hurdles.
“I think it is important to establish a good and stable coaching and management environment to help take the club forward.
“And, when it comes to development, I would like to see us making our mark in the EP Grand Challenge league as well as growing the women’s team,” she said.
“Until recently, our focus has been on Varsity Cup as university teams don’t qualify to play in the national club champs.”
Le Roux said her time in netball and managing other sporting codes such as cycling, basketball, volleyball, surfing and squash had taught her that it was important to go out and play for both themselves and their supporters in pursuit of establishing a winning culture.
Staying true to the values that she instilled in her players, she acknowledged the importance of being a team player.
“I have an excellent coaching and management team who support me. If it weren’t for them, I would have thought twice about taking this job.”