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Spar Proteas ready to rock the world

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Their recent performance has reinforced the belief they can challenge for a medal at the World Cup.

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Spar Proteas captain Bongi Msomi says the side’s recent performances against the top-three teams in the world have reinforced the belief that they can challenge for a medal at next month’s Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

The team will today jet off to the United Kingdom buoyed by the team’s improvements over the last few years where they have bridged the gap between them and Australia, New Zealand and England.

The Proteas made history at the start of the year 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 with the match decided on golden goals at the end of extra-time.

Msomi said the clash against New Zealand had given them the necessary confidence boost to make a realistic challenge for the title.

“Playing against New Zealand and play to extra-extra time that game alone – despite the win against England – really gave us confidence because we knew the game could have been ours.”

“Taking that confidence into the World Cup, I think the girls are excited, and I am excited because we know how far we’ve come.”

Twenty-four years ago the Proteas shocked New Zealand 59-57 at the 1995 Netball World Championship to earn a place in the final where the lost to Australia to claim the silver medal.

Proteas coach Norma Plummer, who coached Australia to two World Cup gold medals in 2007 and 2011, is considered one of the greatest netball mentors in the game.

Since taking the reins four years ago, Plummer has managed to get some of the country’s top players into the top leagues in England, Australia and New Zealand.

Plummer said the experience her charges have gained from rubbing shoulders with the top players in the world will give the team the edge they need in Liverpool.

“The fact that Netball SA did put the Proteas in the Quad Series, which was quite expensive for them, did pay dividends,” She said.

The Proteas will play two warm-up matches against Wales before their World Cup campaign begins against Trinidad and Tobago on July 12.

SPAR Proteas squad: 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)