SA Prep for World Champs

Protea players, Precious Mthembu of Ethekwini and Boland’s Christine Markgraaf during practice at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. The two will feature for the South African National Netball team against Uganda in the upcoming SPAR Challenge.

Protea players, Precious Mthembu of Ethekwini and Boland’s Christine Markgraaf during practice at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. The two will feature for the South African National Netball team against Uganda in the upcoming SPAR Challenge. Picture: Reg Caldecott

The SPAR National netball team has completed a successful camp at the High Performance Centre in anticipation of the upcoming three-match test series against Uganda in at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus, starting on 24 September, at 4pm.

Team manager, Marchelle Maroun, was in good spirits when she spoke to gsport, hailing the camp as a great success. "We are happy with what we achieved. We learn new things every time we get together.

"As management, we always de-brief, and make changes where needed. It has been a long haul for the players this year. The World Cup was supposed to take place in July and when that changed more training camps were added to the training calendar. It’s the first year that the national team has had continuous training camps, often lasting anywhere from seven to 10 days.

Earlier this year, South Africa drew a three-match series against Malawi, drawing the first match, winning the second and losing the third. Coach Burta de Kock said after that series it was essential for South Africa to get more international experience ahead of the world championships.

Uganda have not qualified for the world championships, but beat South Africa when the two teams last met three years ago. De Kock said a series against Uganda would give her and the coaching staff an opportunity to implement some of the ideas the team has been working on in the training camps.

"We did a lot of work on our combinations and also on our goal circle plans," De Kock said. "Now is the time to put those into effect. "We have been trying to adopt a more aggressive approach and to vary our attack to make us less predictable to the opposition," she said.

Maroun says there is an exciting buzz around the national camp as they prepare for the Uganda series. "One thing that is certainly evident in this group is that they all share the same vision. They are all committed to working together and making the most of their time together."

But De Kock has revealed that two crucial players, goalshooter Sindi Gumede and goal attack Christine Markgraaff, are both battling with niggling injuries. "We are waiting for the medical reports, but we hope they will be fit for the Uganda series," she said.

Charismatic captain Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan missed the training camp for professional reasons, but De Kock said her absence gave the coaching staff the opportunity to try out different centre court options. "Injuries can occur at any time at the world championships so we have to be ready for any eventuality," she said.

With just over two months to go before the World Netball Championships in Auckland, New Zealand in November, the SPAR South African netball team’s preparations are in full swing. The SPAR National Netball team leaves for New Zealand for Netball World Championships at the end of October.

The 3-match Test Series between South Africa and Uganda:
16:00 Monday 24 September
19:00 Wednesday 26 September
19:00 Friday 28 September

All Matches played at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus Indoor sports Arena, and entrance to all matches is free. 

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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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