Chawane looking forward to a life changing World Cup

netball10 March 2023 08:02
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Khanyisa Chawane © Getty Images

Spar Proteas midcourt star, Khanyisa Chawane anticipates her second appearance in the 2023 Vitality Netball World Cup will be her best ever. The 27-year-old first took to the biggest competition in the 2019 edition which took place in Liverpool, her stellar performance in her maiden World Cup turned heads and saw her being recruited by the United Kingdom side, Team Bath for the 2020 season of the Netball Super League.

Chawane hasn’t removed her foot off the pedal and still remains one of the most influential and experienced players in the senior national team. As the world focuses its eyes on South Africa for this year’s edition of the World Cup, Chawane believes this year will be special and memorable.

“I think it’s going to bring a lot of change in perspective, not only in women in sport but to little girls' lives that the opportunity to play for the national team is possible and that it is not only about playing in the national team but it is able to change you. We’re able to inspire the young generation that is coming up to want to be part of the sport, be part of women’s sports and be part of netball. That is the change that is going to come with, every little girl out there and every person that had a dream to play netball, they are going to experience that and they are going to want to chase their dreams because they are going to see how it has changed our lives and the difference that it has made in our lives,” says Chawane.

In her first World Cup, KC was part of the historical team that reached the top four of the competition for the first time since 1995. The squad was led by World Cup winning coach, Norma Plummer, who has made a return to the side last November after having resigned in 2019 following that fine form in Liverpool.

The Free State Crinums star reckons that playing in front of their home crowd will play a significant role in how the team finishes in the competition. The Quad Series in January was one indication that the senior team thrives in front of loud, cheering, and singing supporters which will make a difference when they face other teams who are used to a more subdued crowd.

“For me, it really means a lot, for myself, for my family, and the people that support me. The fact that they will have the opportunity to watch me play netball on a big stage and experience the vibrant vibe of a Netball World Cup in South Africa. Usually, our parents or families watch us on TV and they love that but for them to see it live is an experience that will be amazing. I am excited about that,” she explains.

Plummer and her team are back yet again in camp preparing for the World Cup. The team gathered at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport for a two week training camp after having concluded the training camp which was held in Melbourne, Australia in February.

“The setup of the camp is basically for everyone to work hard. We are working on our conditioning, we’re working on the structure, and being able to play together. So since then, that has been the mandate to make sure that the team is comfortable, any person that joins the setup needs to be able to be comfortable to play with. And you need to be fit enough to participate in a high intensity against the greatest teams. We were able to go down to Australia to get that intensity, especially for us that are based in South Africa, to be able to compete at that level until we lead into the World Cup. So now that we have that experience it’s just to continue training within that intensity so that we’re able to compete when the World Cup gets here,” she says.

Chawane still wants to test herself in a high intensity platform at a club level. Locally, she has been outstanding as well. She’s been with the Crinums since making her senior debut and the team from the City of Roses has won the league three times, from the inaugural season in 2014 to 2016. The side finished on the podium yet again in the 2022 edition where they took the bronze medal after defeating the Western Cape Southern Stings. She also walked away with the player of the tournament award in the 2018 season. She hopes that her performances in the recent Protea matches will propel her to a professional setting in the near future.

“I think everyone’s long term goal is to want to push their netball career to the highest level, find yourself within professional structures with different great players. So it is an opportunity I am looking into, to be able to expand my netball, and get my netball challenge outside of the country. If there is an opportunity like that comes, it would be great,” she says.