The World Cup netball tournament starts on Friday in Cape Town and the Proteas play against Wales, Sri Lanka and Jamaica in the opening weekend.
There is undoubtedly a lot at stake for the home team. It is not only the first time that this international sports spectacle is presented in Africa, but some of the team’s key players believe that they are good enough to stand on the podium.
Karla Pretorius, who was named the top player of the very tournament in Liverpool in 2019, said in a recent interview with RNews that she is excited about the Proteas’ Cape Town 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.”
Still, Australia and New Zealand are still the two teams to watch.
Since the tournament was presented for the first time in 1963, the Aussies have collected 11 of the 16 titles and the Kiwis the other five. Moreover, they still wield the scepter in the international rankings.
However, South Africa were persuaded to show their opponents a thing or two.
“We are ready for the challenge,” said a combative Bongi Msomi, Protea captain.
This is the 35-year-old center player’s fourth World Cup tournament and she was at the helm of affairs when the South Africans took fourth place in Liverpool.
Shadine van der Merwe is also excited to take on the world’s best players in front of her own people.
This Protea star 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.”
09:00: Tonga v Fiji and New Zealand v Trinidad & Tobago
11:00: Australia v Zimbabwe and Uganda v Singapore
18:00: South Africa v Wales and Jamaica v Sri Lanka
20:00: Malawi v Scotland and England v Barbados
09:00: New Zealand v Uganda and Zimbabwe v Fiji
11am: Jamaica v Wales and Australia v Tonga
16:00: South Africa v Sri Lanka and Scotland v Barbados
18:00: England v Malawi and Trinidad & Tobago v Singapore
9am: Wales v Sri Lanka and Australia v Fiji
11:00: Malawi v Barbados and New Zealand v Singapore
4pm: England v Scotland and Uganda v Trinidad & Tobago
18:00: Tonga against Zimbabwe and Jamaica against South Africa