Missing Quad Series a chance to rebuild - Molokwane

netball18 January 2024 13:37| © SuperSport
By:Busisiwe Mokwena
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Cecilia Molokwane © Gallo Images

Netball South Africa president Cecilia Molokwane says they are using this time of the year to rebuild the senior national team.

This year is the first time since 2016 that the Spar Proteas will miss out on playing the four nations tournament in the first month of the year.

In 2016 Netball South Africa together with England Netball, Netball Australia, and Netball New Zealand established the Sanzea Quad Series which saw the four teams having an opportunity to play regularly scheduled international test matches.

The Australian Diamonds have won most of the titles with the Silver Ferns being the other team to have won the competition, having won it once.

However, this year the Vitality Netball Nations Cup will take place from the 20 to 28 January in England and will feature Uganda instead of South Africa.

Molokwane says as there hasn’t been a new coach appointed yet, this is an opportunity to strengthen the team before getting back to competition.

“This time around we did it differently for a reason, us not playing in the Quad Series this year is because we were told that there won’t be one this year. Hence, we played in October and December. It was going to be throwing someone in the deep end. We have not appointed a coach, who were we going to take as coach to lead us at the Quad Series? And with which players because we have three retirements (Bongiwe Msomi, Phumza Maweni, and Izette Griesel)? I know people don’t know about Izette, but she tendered her resignation two days ago. How were we going to move forward without having given each player an opportunity to go to trials?

“I don’t think it impacts the team because we are preparing for the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup. It gives the coach time to settle and how to strategize moving forward. You cannot get into things without planning, we need to give them time to plan. We must be realistic and honest if we want people to perform for us,” she explains.

In their quest to turn the sport professional, NSA contracted 24 players who were part of the Proteas squad to help them focus on their game rather than worry about finances.

The federation will continue this trend; however, the number has now decreased to only 15.


The former Limpopo Baobabs coach says this will spur players to work hard to get into that final team.

“We are contracting them. We will never stop this. We don’t want to stop it, that is why we are having these trials because we are not going to deal with a squad anymore. We are going to deal with 15 players. We have sent all the players that were in the squad contracts to read in the meantime. If new players come through, they can also read the contracts and see what they like or don’t. Players who were in England were also called to the trials. We were preparing for the World Cup then (when had 24 players) and we are not now. We have to be realistic because the 15 will keep changing, it means people have to work hard,” she says.

Following Norma Plummer’s departure in December, NSA will on 19 January be conducting interviews for the next national team coach.

Although Molokwane would not divulge the candidates, she says the federation is looking for someone who will not be afraid to challenge the council of the association.

“We are looking for experience. We are looking for people who have a passion for the sport, people who will want to think as No 1 and not do what Norma did but who will do better. We want someone who has that pride of being a South African, as I wanted before. I am crying for a South African coach, and we have the expertise in the country and people that can take us to the next level.

Let’s do things in the South African way this time but thank you to coach Norma and coach Nicky (Nicole Cusack) for the time they had with us. We really appreciate what she has instilled in the team. I have seen the team grow from strength to strength through her leadership and coaching. We will have that kind of a coach who will not be afraid to challenge us as Norma wasn’t, one who will not be afraid to speak her mind when things are not going right. Someone who will say South Africa should move from No 5 in the world because I believe we can get to No 4,” she says.

The introduction of board members and the Netball SA Investment Group excites Molokwane.

She believes this will open more doors for the sport in the country.

“I am happy that we have people that have raised their hands to say ‘we want to help. We are in this space, and we have seen what netball has done especially with the World Cup and there is potential there. Netball can grow than what it is.’ I am happy that it went the way it did because you must look at the credentials of the people on this board. We are working with people with credibility, people who have been in the corporate world for a very long time and who know where to tap and how. Hopefully, this will open netball to a better space in the country,” she says.