The SPAR Under-21 National Netball Team (back row, from left to right): Mari-Lena Joubert, Izette Lubbe, Rochelle Lawson, Deancke Rohde, Lisa-Marie Wiese, Zandre Kruger and Kefiloe Tsotetsi; (front): Simphiwe Sithebe, Bongolethu Ngobeni, Nobubele Phuza and Shadine van der Merwe (Absent: Danielle Willemse). Photo: Reg Caldecott.

The SPAR Under-21 netball team left for Glasgow on Monday, for the World Youth Championships from Thursday August 22 to Saturday August 31.

The SPAR Baby Proteas ended their preparations with a short, but intense training camp at the High Performance Centre at Pretoria University this past weekend. In addition to physical training, the players also had a motivational session, aimed at putting them in the right frame of mind to achieve their goal of returning to South Africa with the gold medal.

The players are confident of doing well, after easily beating all the men’s teams when they took part in the men’s inter-provincial tournament in Rustenburg earlier this month, which the aim was of getting them accustomed to some very physical and robust play.

“The men provide a different perspective explained Netball South Africa (NSA) Director of Selections,” Christine du Preez. “Men’s netball tends to be very fast, which will be to their advantage when they play in the world championships,” she said.

South Africa have been drawn in Pool A, which includes Australia, Fiji, Israel and Namibia. “It’s quite a tough group,” said du Preez. “Australia and Fiji are always tough competitors, and we won’t be taking victory over Israel and Namibia for granted either. We’re hoping to get off to a good start so that we can develop some momentum.”

Under-21 coach Dorette Badenhorst said she was very happy with the team after the training camp. “Everyone is fit and well. We played two games during the camp, and made sure that everyone went back to basics. They are very upbeat, and they are peaking at exactly the right time. I am confident that we are going to do very well in Glasgow.”


The SPAR Under-21 National Netball Team:
Deancke Rohde
Danielle Willemse
Mari-Lena Joubert
Lisa-Marie Wiese
Bongolethu Ngobeni
Izette Lubbe
Simphiwe Sithebe (captain)
Nobubele Phuza
Rochelle Lawson (vice-captain)
Shadine van der Merwe
Kefiloe Tsotetsi
Zandre Kruger

(With editing by gsport)