The Spar South African netball team, who have set their sights on becoming one of the world’s top netball nations, are to get an opportunity to hone their skills against the three best teams in the world.
The Proteas have been invited to take part in a Quad Series in October, playing against world champions, Australia, second-ranked New Zealand and England, who finished third in the world championships in Singapore last year. Each team will play three matches in Australia and three in New Zealand.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” said Netball South Africa (NSA) President Mimi Mthethwa. “Since Singapore (where South Africa came fifth) the top teams have recognised that we can be very competitive. They understand that South Africa is on the way back to the top.”
She said it was very important for the team to keep playing against stronger teams as they prepared for their next big international encounter, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
“The Quad Series will give them an excellent platform for the road ahead,” she said. “It is important for them to play at a very high level on a sustained basis. Playing in this kind of tournament, against the best in the world, means the Spar Proteas have opportunities to learn and grow.
“We can’t keep on playing against Malawi and teams that are our equal or weaker. The only way to achieve our goal of being one of the top three is to keep playing the very best,” says Mthethwa.
Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer said the format of the tournament, with three double-headers in Australia followed by three in New Zealand was a first for a tournament of this kind. “We’re thrilled to be co-hosting an international tournament that features four of the world’s top six Test nations,” said Palmer.
The Quad Series opens in Adelaide on October 14 and ends in Hamilton, New Zealand, on November 1.
*Dates subject to change.