Jamaican netball coach Oberon Pittseron-Nattie expects a hard and competitive series against South Africa in Kingston later this month.
The Proteas, ranked sixth in the world, leave for Kingston on Sunday for a three-Test series against the fourth-ranked Sunshine Girls.
“We have great respect for South Africa,” Pitterson-Nattie said on a telephone conference call on Wednesday. “They are very fast around the court, and we expect every match to be tough.”
The coach said Jamaica were in a re-building stage, with a number of senior players having retired after the world championships in Singapore last year.
“We only have four members of the World Championship team left, but they will play a very important role as we start preparing for the next major tournament, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.
“We have a very young team, but they are full of energy, and like South Africa, they are hungry for a win.”
Pitterson-Nattie said the Jamaican team were working on strategies to deal with some of the more experienced South African players.
“You have fantastic centre court players, and your captain Amanda Mynhardt is a very aggressive and strong player, and a wonderful leader,” she said. “You also have very accurate shooters.
“We will aim to get the ball from centre to the goal circle as quickly as possible, to give our very tall goalshooter an opportunity to get the ball into the net.”
South Africa and Jamaica have played against each other 12 times since 1963, with Jamaica recording nine wins to South Africa’s three.
The coach said she was confident that Jamaica could break into the top three in the world. They have a series against England in September, and Pitterson-Nattie said if they could get past third-ranked England, they would feel more confident about challenging the world’s top netball countries, Australia and New Zealand.