Netball South Africa (NSA) selectors have combined youth and experience in the SPAR national netball team to tour England in January. The tour, which includes three Tests, forms part of the team’s build-up to the world championships in Fiji in July.
Karen Venter is the newly appointed captain of the side touring England which consists of 5 new caps. The new caps are Tsakane Mbewe (Gauteng Central), Tamaryn Bragg (Gauteng East), Precious Mthembu (Ethekwini), Refiloe Mochaka (Gauteng Central) and Erin Burger (Gauteng North).
“It’s a new phase in the development of the team,” explained captain Venter. “Most of the new members of the team played in the world under-21 championships in the United States last year, so they have some international experience, and they also have valuable experience of playing in a major tournament.
“This tour will be very important for our preparations for the world championships. England are ranked above us internationally, and they play a similar style of netball to New Zealand and Australia, who are the top teams in the world.
“Their style of play is very fast – the ball moves very fast, and the players are also very fast, so we will have to speed up our style of play as well.
“It is also important for us to play away from home so that everyone can get used to travelling. Of course, England in the winter is very different from Fiji, but we will be playing on international courts with international umpires and get used to playing in conditions that are different from those at home.”
Five of the 14 members of the team are from the Free State, and Venter believes this will help the team.
“We have played together in the provincial team, and most of us also play for Kovsies, which means we know each other and are used to playing together,” she said.
The team is currently at a training camp at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
The camp began last week and ends on Saturday November 9.
SPAR National netball team: Karin Venter (captain – Free State), Sindisiwe Gumede (North West South), Tsakane Mbewe (Gauteng Central), Tamaryn Bragg (Gauteng East), Annarie Store (Free State), Rusky Mthethwa (Gauteng Central), Precious Mthembu (Ethekwini), Refiloe Mochaka (Gauteng Central), Yvonne Phiri (Free State), Erin Burger (Gauteng North), Nontle Gwavu (Eastern Province), Leigh-Ann Zackey (Gauteng West), Adele Niemand (Free State), Anchen du Plessis (Free State) Coach: Burta de Kock, Manager: Marchelle Maroun
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