Proteas start preparations for Commonwealth Games with matches against Ireland, Wales and Scotland
Netball South Africa (NSA) have secured high-profile friendly matches for the Proteas against Ireland, Wales and Scotland as coach Dorette Badenhorst steps up preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The South Africans travel to Dublin this Saturday and are scheduled to play against Ireland, before moving to Northern Ireland to face Wales and Scotland before returning home later in the month.
The European tour replaces the Margaret Beckford Sunshine Series against Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean which was scheduled to take place in the middle of October.
The Sunshine series was called off due to Covid-19 restrictions in Jamaica.
NSA president Cecilia Molokwane stressed the importance of players getting as much game time as possible in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games.
“It was disappointing for us that we could not send the Spar Proteas to Jamaica,” she said.
“The players who were selected for the national team have really put in all the hard work ahead of the Jamaica series, but saving lives has always and will always be our number one priority.
“We needed to make the best decision for the team, players and country as well. At the same time, we could not allow their hard work and preparation to go to waste and it was therefore important that we entered into negotiations with other countries immediately to make sure that we give the team much-needed game time,” said Molokwane.
In other news, defender Shadine van der Merwe has withdrawn from the team due to injury and has been replaced by Monique Reyneke. But goalkeeper Zanele Vimbela returns to the side after a long injury layoff.
Vimbela has not been part of the team due to an injury she sustained last year during the Telkom Netball League (TNL) and her availability is a huge boost.
“We have the utmost confidence in the team the coaches have selected. We believe that this is a good start for us as we build a team that will play against Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
“All the players here understand the responsibility bestowed upon them and I trust they will take ownership of it. We wish them everything of the best,” concluded Molokwane.
Defence: Phumza Maweni; Boitumelo Mahloko; Karla Pretorius; Simoné Rabie; Monique Reyneke
Mid-court: Bongiwe Msomi (c); Refiloe Nketsa; Tshinakaho Mdau; Izette Griesel; Khanyisa Chawane
Shooters: Ine-Marí Venter; Lefebré Rademan; Sigi Burger, Elmeré van der Berg; Jessica du Plessis