There is just one new cap in the 12-member SPAR South African netball team announced by Netball South Africa (NSA) on Friday night. The team will play in the Diamond Challenge against Malawi, Botswana and Zambia in Pretoria next week.
Gauteng North’s Melissa Myburgh has been included in the place of goal shooter Claudia Basson, who was unavailable for selection due to work commitments. “We had to make some changes from the team that beat Northern Ireland 3-0 in the SPAR Challenge Series last month,” said NSA Director of Selectors, Christine du Preez.
“Claudia has other commitments, Erin Berger is injured and Amanda Mynhardt has gone back to New Zealand, where she is gaining valuable experience playing club netball.”
Du Preez said the selectors had also named a squad of 28 to attend training camps ahead of the Quad Series against netball powerhouses Australia, New Zealand and England later this year. “The squad includes four players for each position, and we have graded them so that we can check on their progress,” said Du Preez.
She said South Africa’s main priority in the Diamond Challenge was to ensure that South Africa beat Malawi, who have long been South Africa’s nemesis.
Although the Proteas beat Malawi in the World Championships in Singapore last year, the “Queens” are currently ranked above South Africa in the world rankings.
NSA have queried the situation with the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA), but as Du Preez pointed out, victory over Malawi in the Diamond Challenge should resolve the situation.
“We don’t know too much about Botswana and Zambia, but we believe that if we can beat Malawi, we will be able to win the Diamond Challenge and get back to number five on the IFNA rankings.”
Gauteng North and Free State both have four players in the team, KwaZulu Natal has two, and Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni have one each.
SPAR National Team: Chrisna Bootha Maryka Holtzhausen Melissa Myburgh Zanele Mdodana (Captain) Bongiwe Msomi Thuli Qegu Precious Methembu Anneret Viljoen Karla Mostert Vanes-Mari du Toit Adele Niemand Nosiphiwo Goda