As if the Springboks had not given them enough incentive to do well at the World Netball Championships next month, the SPAR South African Netball Team have just been given the welcome news that there will be some financial rewards if they do well.
Sponsors SPAR announced on Tuesday that the Proteas will receive a bonus R250,000 if they reach the quarterfinals of the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, R500,000 for reaching the semifinals, R750,000 for reaching the final, and a whopping R1,000,000 if they win.
"We wanted to reward the players for all their hard work and sacrifices," said SPAR Marketing Director Roelf Venter. "We are very proud of our netball team, and we want to show them how much we appreciate their dedication."
"It’s tremendously exciting," said captain Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan. "We have all sacrificed a lot to go to the world championships – some have had to put their studies on hold and others have had to take unpaid leave to attend all the training camps.
"We certainly won’t be playing just for the money – every time you play for your country is a privilege and we always try our best when we play for South Africa, but this money would be a wonderful reward for some of those sacrifices.
"We are also thrilled with the Springboks’ victory at the Rugby World Cup – like the rest of South Africa, we were with them all the way. We also look back on 1995 and remember that the last time the Springboks won the World Cup, the Proteas beat world champions New Zealand and reached the final of the World Championships in Birmingham, England.
"We plan to emulate the Proteas of that year, and this time, to go one better, and win the title so that South Africa will have two world champions," said Bock.
Minister of Sport and Recreation Rev. Makhenkesi Stofile sent a good luck message to the team urging them to follow the example set by the Springboks. "With the Rugby euphoria currently prevailing, we hope that the South African Netball team will learn from their male colleagues in rugby and make us proud.
"We wish them well and we trust that the positive effects of the Springbok triumph will rub off onto them. We ask the South African public to accord them the same support, respect and nation-unifying spirit that they do with all other national teams," said Stofile.
The Proteas are attending a training camp at the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria ahead of their departure for New Zealand on October 31.