Proteas aiming to finish year on a high
The Spar Proteas are hoping to finish the year on a high as they take on Netball World Cup silver medallists, England.
South Africa will travel to the United Kingdom to face the Vitality Roses in a three-test series to close off the year.
Manchester’s AO Arena and the Nottingham Arena will host the matches set for 5, 9, and 10 December, the northwest city will only host the first match of the series.
Before facing the Jess Thirlby led side, South Africa will have will come up against Scotland in a practice match two days before the start of the series.
After concluding their tour in Australia, the SPAR Proteas are set to jet off to England for a three-test series against the Vitality Roses this December. 🏴🆚🇿🇦— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) November 22, 2023
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The senior national team is still licking its wounds from the fresh 3-0 test series defeat against world No 1, Australia.
Getting a positive result would be the best gift to outgoing coach, Norma Plummer who returned to the team in November 2022 in her second tenure with the senior team.
The Roses will go into this series with an upper hand having not lost against South Africa in the 2023 calendar, the two drew in January during the Quad Series in a tightly contested match.
Assistant coach, Dumisani Chauke says this will not deter the team from giving the third world ranked side a run for its money.
“The ideal way to close the year is obviously to be competitive against England. It’s just a thing of narrowing the margins and making sure we put up a competitive side. It’s a three test series and you can never tie it. It would be a confidence booster for us as South Africans (to win a match) and it will show us that our youngsters are able to play and be competitive.
"We are just looking to be competitive and give as many players as possible international experience. They have been playing a couple of games, they will be playing New Zealand just before they play us. They have been getting some international games,” says Chauke.
BLOOD YOUNG PLAYERS
The former Limpopo Baobabs coach stresses the importance of introducing younger players into the senior team leading up to the next global competitions.
The series against the Diamonds saw Kamogelo Maseko put in an impressive performance as well as Rolene Streutker confidently making her debut against the world champions.
Chauke says the series will allow the coaching staff to give an opportunity to more younger players a chance on the court.
“The likes of New Zealand, Australia, and England are introducing younger players who are coming up through the systems in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Netball World Cup in 2027.
"For us as well, having our youngsters going out there and standing up against other teams. We saw when we had Kamo come out against Australia, she was amazing. We are looking forward to having more youngsters coming up.
"Imagine if we had Sammy (Owethu Ngubane) with us in Australia what kind of changes we would have been able to make? Luckily she is going with us to England so we will have the luxury of being able to give different players an opportunity so they get to test the pressure as well and we see what they can do,” she says.
She reckons that having young players compete against the top teams helps them become competitive players.
She adds that the opportunities for players to play against the top teams open up doors for players to possibly get signed in overseas leagues where they can get regular competitive and high intensity matches.
“It’s important for them to hit the big guns and taste the pressure because it would be (giving them) false confidence if we put them up against Lesotho or Swaziland that are way lower ranked than South Africa.
"It’s important that they get the real feel of high intensity and highly competitive netball on the international stage, to sort of gauge how far they are from hitting the mark and what it is they need to go back and work on. So that in two or three years they are ready to be competitive every time they step onto the court,” she explains.
She says the country is building a pool of players whom the national teams can choose from for different competitions.
“Netball South Africa has been working on building a (big) pool of players. At the TNL and the Spar Champs do announce squads, the President’s XII, and the developmental squad, we do have players that are in a larger pool. They just have to be worked on and brought up to speed,” she says.
ICYMI - here is our 🇿🇦 squad who'll be jetting off to England next week for a three-test series against the Vitality Roses 5, 9 and 10 December. 😍— Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) November 23, 2023
📺 Catch all the action live on SuperSport Variety 4.
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Khanyisa Chawane, Boitumelo Mahloko, Kamogelo Maseko, Phumza Maweni, Bongiwe Msomi, Rolene Streutker, Refiloe Nketsa, Karla Pretorius, Lefébre Rademan, Jeanté Strydom, Nicola Smith, Ane Retief, Owethu Ngubane, Ine-Marí Venter, Nicholé Taljaard