“Getting the best players to come with to Liverpool is a very important and critical part of our preparations”
SPAR Proteas coach Norma Plummer has selected a strong 12-member squad for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, in July.
Seven of the players who featured in the previous edition, including captain Bongi Msomi, were yesterday named in the national squad to provide a wealth of experience.
Msomi, Erin Burger, Karla Pretorius and Maryka Holtzhausen will be going to their third World Cup, having featured in the 2011 and 2015 tournaments.
Coach Plummer, who will be leading the Proteas to the World Cup for the second time, said she had selected the best possible squad for the global showpiece.
“Getting the best players to come with to Liverpool is a very important and critical part of our preparations,” Plummer said.
“Based on the data that I collected, I was then better placed to make my decision with the assistance of the bench.”
The legendary Australian coach said she had worked with the South African-based players during a week-long camp in Pretoria, where she did assessments during the Telkom Netball League. The locally-based Proteas players featured in the Netball League as part of the Spar Smileys team under the tutelage of Dorette Badenhorst.
“I have spent some time also assessing some of the players that are plying their trade in England, New Zealand and Australia,” Plummer said. “This also helped us to identify who we need and what value they will bring into the team, especially when it mattered the most.”
The team will leave the county on June 27 for a series against Wales before they make their way to Liverpool for the World Cup.
Ranked fifth in the world, the Proteas have made some serious strides over the last couple of years, edging closer to the top teams – Australia, England, Jamaica and New Zealand.
The South Africans made history at the start of the year after beating England in their backyard for the first time in 19 years with a 48-45 victory in the Quad Series.
They also came painstakingly close to beating New Zealand, bowing the knee 62-60 with the match decided on golden goals at the end of extra time.
Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane said she was confident the team could return to South Africa with a medal.
“I am pleased with the team that coach Norma has put together. I have full confidence in the coach, her technical bench and the players at large,” Molokwane said.
“I have always said that the mandate for the team is very simple and clear:
“We need a medal at the end of the tournament.”
Lenize Potgieter (GS), Ine-Marie Venter (GS), Maryka Holtzhausen (GA), Renske Stoltz (GA), Erin Burger (C), Izette Griesel (C/WA), Khanyisa Chawane (C), Bongiwe Msomi (WA), Shadine van der Merwe (WD), Karla Pretorius (GD), Phumza Maweni (GK), Zanele Vimbela (GK)