Netball Proteas start road to World Cup in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – A new broom sweeps clean, the saying goes, and that is what Proteas netball coach Dorette Badenhorst will be hoping for in this weekend’s three-Test series against England in Cape Town.
South Africa have lost their last two matches against the Roses, both at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.
Badenhorst was part of the coaching set-up under the watch of Norma Plummer, and took over from the Australian – who retired after the tournament – ahead of the African Cup last month.
The Proteas were always expected to win the African title, but now comes the real test of their abilities in the shape of England, and Badenhorst also believes that this weekend’s matches is the start of the road to the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town.
“We are playing against a different Roses team (that played at the 2019 World Cup), and we’ve got a different team. It will be a new challenge, and we have set our goals for this weekend,” Badenhorst said at a press conference yesterday.
“We are building to 2023 (Netball World Cup in Cape Town), so it’s a building process – a new start for us, new coaches on both sides, and I think we will put that behind us, we will learn from that and go in hard this weekend.
“We’ve learnt a lot from Norma, and Norma is a brilliant coach. I didn’t try to change everything, but we are building on that, and I think it is really important that we take whatever Plum gave to us in the past five years and work on that, and go forward.”
But those two losses at the World Cup earlier this year still hurts, and captain Bongi Msomi believes that the Proteas need to maintain their tempo in every quarter.
Wing attack Msomi spoke with a steely determination yesterday, and she wants to experience the same joy that the January triumph over England brought at the end of this weekend.
“To be honest, the challenge for us has been to be consistent in what we are doing, getting combinations gelling. Now netball is getting really intense, and you can’t have 15 minutes where you are not combining well as a team, because if you don’t, you will probably finish a quarter four goals behind and that is very big now,” she said.
“You are trailing and it will be hard to get the ball away from a team like the Roses. There are going to be times when it’s tough, and we want everyone to step up and take charge. That is what we’ve been practising, and it would be amazing to see if the girls can step up like that.”
The Proteas will have Phumza Maweni back from an ankle injury that kept her out of the African Cup, but Karla Pretorius has been given a break for the rest of 2019.
Tonight’s first match starts at 7pm, with Saturday’s encounter at 3pm and Sunday’s at 1pm.
Shooters: Ine-Mari Venter, Lenize Potgieter, Renske Stoltz, Lefebre Rademan, Sigi Burger.
Centre Court: Bongi Msomi (captain), Izette Griesel, Rome Dreyer, Khanyisa Chawane, Kgomotso Itlhabanyeng.
Defence: Phumza Maweni, Shadine van der Merwe, Zanele Vimbela, Monique Reyneke, Precious Mthembu.