Netball South Africa have chosen a strong and balanced team for the three-Test series against England towards the end of this month.
Head coach of the SPAR South African team, Elize Kotze, said she was very happy with the team, although three experienced players – Erin Burger, Zanele Mdodana and Chrisna Bootha – were unavailable for selection because of injury.
“Losing that much experience is a serious blow, but I’m very pleased with the team that we’ve selected,” she said. “Some young players, like Lindie Lombard, are going to be given a chance to show us what they can do, and we’re also very happy to have a player like Yolandi Stone, who actually gave up netball for a while, back in the fold.
“Lindie went to the Quad series (against Australia, New Zealand and England) last year, but only got about 10 minutes of game time before she was injured. But now she is back from recovery and rehabilitation, and she is very good back-up for a player like Maryka (Holtzhausen),” said Kotze.
“Lindie had an outstanding SPAR National Championships, and showed us just how good she is,” she added. “She is a very creative player, and performs superbly as a specialist goal defence. She has an excellent work ethic and has a wonderful feel for what is expected from her.”
Kotze said Stone would be a very good replacement for Burger, who was named player of the tournament at the World Championships in Singapore in 2011. “She’s a good team player, and an excellent distributor of the ball,” said Kotze. The coach said she had been very pleased with the progress made at the training camp held in Pretoria last weekend.
Kotze said the series against the team ranked third in the world would be a big challenge for the SPAR Proteas, but she believed they were ready to meet the challenge. “We have been viewing a lot of footage of England in action, and every player has been studying their opponent so they know how to deal with them.
“I think we’re going to know a lot more about England than they will know about us,” she said.
The three Tests will be played in Bath on September 22, Wembley on September 25 and Worcester on September 27.
SPAR National Netball Team: Melissa Myburgh Lindie Lombard Yolandi Stone Maryka Holtzhausen (Captain) Bongiwe Msomi (Captain) Simnikiwe Mdaka Nokuthula Qegu Karla Mostert Precious Mthembu Adele Niemand Vanes-Mari du Toit Nontle Gwavu
(With editing by gsport)