Passing that Jamaican exam crucial for Proteas Netball World Cup campaign
JOHANNESBURG – One game separates the Proteas from a semi-final berth at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool as they look to prevail over Uganda tonight.
The South African women have their tails up following a stellar start to the global showpiece, boasting an unbeaten run of four victories.
The team has been in ruthless form, with their final group-match victory over world number two side Jamaica raising hopes of South Africa going all the way.
The Proteas are on course to emulate the class of 1995 that defied the odds to reach the final in Birmingham, where they won the silver medal after losing to Australia in the final of the Netball World Championship.
Jamaica’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals suffered another blow on Monday with a 56-48 defeat to England.
South African assistant-coach Dorette Badenhorst said a win over Uganda would secure them a place in the semi-finals on Saturday, with a game in hand against Commonwealth Games champions England tomorrow.
The Spar Proteas' win over Jamaica was crucial to their cause to reach the semi-finals. Photo: Reg Caldecott
“We are glad England won because now Jamaica has two losses against them and they will be in a bit of trouble if we can beat Uganda,” Badenhorst said.
“We need to beat Uganda, then we can go through to the semi-finals, so that game will be crucial.”
South Africa has been a well-oiled machine since the start of the World Cup, making light work of Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji over the weekend.
They were well on their way to a relatively easy victory over Jamaica before the Caribbean side launched a strong comeback in the second half.
But the Proteas passed their most significant exam against the Jamaicans before beating Scotland in another clinical performance on Monday.
“Four out of four is excellent. It was a team effort from all 12 players and the confidence from the coaches to send any player on court knowing they would give their best,” Badenhorst said.
Uganda has the potential to be a banana peel for South Africa considering their previous clash at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Proteas staved off a determined Uganda, claiming an 11-goal victory over their African counterparts.
Let's give a shout out to the Rembrandt behind the camera @NetballWorldCup our netball photographer, Mr. Reg Caldecott! 👏🇿🇦📸 #SPARProteas #WeAreAllIn #NWC2019 #ThisIsNetball pic.twitter.com/vo1nSzyFvT
— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) July 17, 2019
The sides went into the final quarter with South Africa holding a four-goal lead before they pulled away for a 53-42 victory.
The Uganda She Cranes have seen a meteoric rise in recent years, to go from 15th in the world rankings to seventh.
They shocked Scotland 52-43 in the preliminary rounds before beating Trinidad and Tobago 57-54 in the second round.