New plan for Spar Proteas
The Spar Proteas need to go back to the drawing board for a new game plan after losing two test friendlies against New Zealand just ahead of the netball World Cup.
New Zealand’s Silver Ferns thumped South Africa 68-44 in their first test and 67-28 in the second test.
But there is some good news for South African supporters. New Zealand’s defence could not get past South Africa’s star shooter, Lenize Potgieter, who was dubbed most valued player.
The president of Netball SA, Mimi Mthethwa, said: “We did not expect South Africa to win against the world number two side [Silver Ferns] and our star shooter took them by surprise. So, right now I’m just hoping that our coach can find ways to counter their plans ahead of the World Cup.”
The Spar Proteas will start their World Cup campaign against their nemesis, the Malawi Queens, who are ranked number one in Africa.
South Africa defeated Malawi at the Diamond Challenge last month to win the tournament. However, Malawi was then without its star shooter, Mwawi Kumwenda, who will be playing in the World Cup.
“Fortunately, our coach knows the Malawian star because she’s an international player and our defence has also played against her before, so we’re not worried about her return,” Mthethwa said.
Singapore and Sri Lanka are also in South Africa’s pool.
According to Mthethwa, South Africa will not take any team for granted, although they have previously beaten Sri Lanka at the Tri-Nations in Botswana.
“Singapore and Sri Lanka are good teams. Everyone will be fighting to make it to the next round and with Sri Lanka being coached by a New Zealander, we are going to expect the unexpected,” she said.
Norma Plummer, who was only announced as Proteas coach at the Diamond Challenge, has only been working with the team for a short period.
Mthethwa is, however, confident that Plummer will deliver.
She hopes the Spar Proteas will make it into the semifinal and improve their rankings. They are currently ranked world number six.
TESTING Towera Vinkhumbo (left) and Lenize Potgieter