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Building for the future


Proteas coach Dorette Badenhorst believes her strategy of growing the player depth is already bearing fruit.

Proteas coach Dorette Badenhorst believes her strategy of growing the player depth is already bearing fruit following the three-Test series against England and the recent African Cup victory. 

Before Badenhorst started her tenure as the head coach following the departure of Norma Plummer, she expressed her concern over the lack of depth. 

But the new coach has made a stunning start to her term, with the side going unbeaten in the African Netball Cup to claim the continental title in October.

“It is all about trust and combinations. The more we play together and combinations I try out they can develop in each other,” Badenhorst said.

“We’ve got 12 brilliant players, I can put anyone on the court, and they will perform. Today’s combinations just worked for us, and making changes at the right time.”

The Proteas beat England 54-48 in Cape Town on Sunday but lost the series 2-1 which could easily have ended in a draw. The Proteas insisted the first match end in a result after it finished level after regulation time. 

England went on to win the first and second encounters with the Proteas winning the dead rubber. 

The six-point win was their largest over England since their 77-54 victory in Manchester 1995.

England, however, dominated South Africa in their six meetings which included two victories over the Proteas at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July. 

South Africa suffered a comprehensive 58-41 defeat to England in their bronze-medal match finishing the tournament in fourth place. 

“It was a team effort, and we knew we could do it if the attack and defence can get together,” Badenhorst said. 

“These players just want to get better, and they’ve got such a great future.”

The team has played both the continental tournament and the SPAR Challenge against England in Cape Town. Badenhorst believed the home crowd added to their recent successes on the court. 

“The more we play at home, and the more people see how good we are, the better for netball,” Badenhorst said.

South Africa will face their biggest challenge in January when they play in the Vitality Nations Cup in the United Kingdom against England, Jamaica and world champions New Zealand.

“This win gives the players a lot of confidence bringing in new players and start believing in each other,” Badenhorst said.

“The vibe in the team is brilliant, and we are excited about this. If this is the first few weeks together imagine what we can do in the next three years.”