Home competition discipline Mari du Raan: A rising star in South African netball

Mari du Raan: A rising star in South African netball

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Recently selected for both the Under-21 South African Qualifier Netball team and the Under-21 South African Netball World Cup team in 2025, Mari’s journey is filled with excitement, hard work, and a determination to succeed.

Diamantveld High School’s netball sensation, Mari du Raan, is not just making waves in local competitions but is also set to represent South Africa on the international stage. Picture: Supplied

Diamantveld High School’s netball sensation, Mari du Raan, is not just making waves in local competitions but is also set to represent South Africa on the international stage.

Recently selected for both the Under-21 South African Qualifier Netball team and the Under-21 South African Netball World Cup team in 2025, Mari’s journey is filled with excitement, hard work, and a determination to succeed.

The DFA spoke to Mari to find out more about her journey.

Mari told the DFA that her journey began with a simple dream: to represent her school and country in netball. Her selection for the Under-21 South African Qualifier team is a dream come true, and she is bursting with pride.

“It feels really amazing to represent my school and country in the Under-21 South African Qualifier. I am really excited and very proud of myself. I have worked hard for it, and I am sure it is going to be an awesome experience where I will even gain more experience along the way,” Mari shared with obvious enthusiasm.

The excitement doesn’t stop there for Mari. The announcement of her inclusion in the Under-21 South African Netball World Cup team left her in disbelief. “When I heard my name being called out, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I had goosebumps all over my body, knowing that I would be taking part in a World Cup where I would represent my country.

“Words cannot describe what I felt,” Mari exclaimed, revealing the overwhelming joy that comes with achieving such a significant milestone.

Mari’s success on the court is attributed to her physical strengths and stellar performance during netball trials.

“I am very tall and have a strong build, and that definitely helps me a lot. I also did very well during my netball trials. My goal percentage was very high. The defenders really struggled to get the ball, and I have a very good hold, and my footwork was also really good,” she explained, emphasising the combination of her physical attributes and skills that set her apart.

Coming from Diamantveld High School, Mari acknowledges the crucial role her school’s sports programme played in her development. She expressed gratitude for the unwavering support from her coaches and teammates.

“My school always puts lots of effort into netball. We had holiday programmes right through December that kept me really fit. I also received a lot of support from my coaches, and I would not have made it through the year without their support,” Mari acknowledged, highlighting the importance of teamwork and encouragement in her journey.

With the Under-21 South African Qualifier approaching, Mari and her teammates are gearing up for the competition.

“As a team, we had our first practice camp last weekend after the trials, and I think we are ready. All of the players are really talented,” Mari said. As for her personal preparation, she dedicates numerous hours to practising before and after school, prioritising her commitment to netball.

Looking ahead to the 2025 Under-21 South African Netball World Cup in Gibraltar, Mari has set ambitious goals. “My goal is to assist my team in the best possible way to be able to reach the finals, and I believe that we will be able to achieve that because we have a really good team,” she shared.

Mari also expressed her dream of being in the starting seven for each game, emphasising the importance of teamwork in achieving international success.

Acknowledging the demands of being part of a national team, Mari admitted that academics sometimes take a back seat. However, she commended the support she receives from her school and teachers. “The teachers assist me before school, during breaks, and after if needed, and I want to thank them so much for what they are doing for me,” she expressed.

As she prepares for the rigours of competition, Mari also follows a strict study routine, dedicating evenings to academics from 7pm to 11pm.

She draws inspiration from players like Lenize Potgieter and Rolene Streutker on the Protea team, and aspires to emulate their skills; she has identified discipline and commitment as the key to reaching their level. “All it takes is hard work,” Mari affirmed.

Reflecting on her journey, Mari shared a pivotal moment during a game against Affies Girls School in Pretoria. Despite losing, the experience fueled her determination to achieve greater heights in netball.

Another memorable moment was playing in the SA Under-18 fast five team at the Commonwealth Games, where they reached the finals against Australia, earning a silver medal.

Beyond the thrill of competition, Mari cherishes the friendships built through netball. “The friends that I have made along the way are friendships that will last forever,” she shared. Mari also hopes to inspire younger athletes at Diamantveld High School and beyond saying, “I want to inspire other players that watch me play, showing them that anything is possible,” she stated.

With her mantra, “Fake it till you make it”, Mari du Raan is not just a rising star in South African netball; she is a beacon of inspiration for aspiring athletes, proving that dedication, hard work, and a positive mindset can propel one to extraordinary heights.

As she prepares to take on the challenges of the Under-21 South African Qualifier and the 2025 Netball World Cup, all eyes are on Mari as she continues her remarkable journey in the world of netball.

Mari du Raan is seen in action during a game that was held at her school. Picture: Danie van der Lith
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