In just over two weeks, the world’s leading netball players in South Africa will put their best foot forward to win glory and fame for their country.
The World Cup tournament will be decided in Cape Town and according to Shadine van der Merwe, the Proteas can’t wait for the action to begin.
“I’m terribly excited and the fact that we’re going to battle it out on our home courts in front of our people undoubtedly adds to the excitement,” the South African netball star told RNews.
After the four-cornered netball series between the Proteas, New Zealand, Australia and England, Van der Merwe expressed her appreciation for the local fans who loudly cheered every goal.
She expects that the spectators can once again provide a nice adrenaline injection.
“They are like the eighth player on the court. Our spectators are incredibly passionate and they provide so much energy.”
As usual, she believes that the Proteas’ fighting spirit is their greatest weapon – the team fights until the last second of a match, as it were.
“From an individual point of view, I want to dish out consistent play during the tournament and play my role in the team to the best of my ability.”
South Africa is currently fifth in the international netball standings and they will have to put their shoulder to the wheel to beat reputed opponents such as Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and England for the silverware.
However, Karla Pretorius also said earlier that she is excited about the Proteas’ chances.
“We have a good balance between experience and young talent; there are players who have been in action at a World Cup before and they know what it takes to make it to the playoffs. I believe we have a chance to finish on the podium,” said Pretorius.
Proteas’ World Cup squad: Bongi Msomi (captain), Karla Pretorius (vice-captain), Khanyisa Chawane, Izette Griesel, Phumza Maweni, Lenize Potgieter, Nicola Smith, Jeante Strydom, Nichole Taljaard, Elmere van der Berg, Shadine van der Merwe and Ine-Marí Venter. Reserve players: Owethu Ngubane, Refiloe Nketsa and Lefebre Rademan.
- The tournament will be decided from 28 July to 6 August in Cape Town.
- The Proteas play their first game on July 28 at 18:00 against Wales.