All about depth for Spar Proteas for series against England
Netball / 14 November 2019, 07:30am / Ockert de Villiers
Looking to further grow her depth, Proteas netball coach Dorette Badenhorst announced a 15-member squad for the upcoming Test series against England in Cape Town at the end of the month.
The squad consists of the same players that won the recent African Netball Cup title in the Mother City with the addition of three more women.
Among the three are Proteas stalwart Phumza Maweni and Ine-Mari Venter and Kgomotso Itlhabanyeng, who is the only player that has not featured for South Africa over the last few years.
Badenhorst said the squad would be whittled down to 12 following a training camp.
Former national player Zanele Mdodana believes Badenhorst is on the right track in placing a greater premium on building player depth.
“With the Test series against England coming up they shouldn’t put pressure on themselves that they have to win,” Mdodana said.
“Obviously we want to win but that Test series would give us a clear picture as to where we are at this point in time.”
South Africa claimed a clean sweep at the African Netball Cup in Cape Town providing Badenhorst with a good start to her tenure.
The Proteas netball team won all six of their matches at the continental tournament.
Badenhorst has to both grow her player depth but also build on the success of former coach Norma Plummer, who steered the team to fourth place at the World Cup.
“They’ve got that vision, and it is the right time to do it, we played the African Cup, and we didn’t have enough time to have trials, so she went with a few players that played at the World Cup,” Mdodana said.
“This is the time for them to open it up, blood players, throw them in the deep end and see who can swim and who will sink.”
Mdodana said Badenhorst has already started the process of casting her selection net wider at the recent African Cup tournament.
Badenhorst had entrusted some of the so-called fringe players with starting berths.
“We need to have 12 brilliant players, you can’t win World Cups with just playing seven players,” Mdodana said.
“That is what Dorette and Dumisani (Chauke, assistant coach) must do right, and they’ve got to make sure all the players are at the same level. What happened at the African champs is she played with combinations Norma never played with. We had a new circle combination in the shooting and the defence.”