World Cup Squad Announced

Tsakane Mbewe, pictured in the 3rd Test against Uganda on Friday, is one of the young guns to make selection for the South African National Netball Team for the 2008 World Champs. Picture: Reg Caldecott

Tsakane Mbewe, pictured in the 3rd Test against Uganda on Friday, is one of the young guns to make selection for the South African National Netball Team for the 2008 World Champs. Picture: Reg Caldecott

The selectors opted for as much experience as possible when they announced the 12 member SPAR South African National Netball Team for the World Netball Championships, in New Zealand in November. 

All members of the squad, with the exception of goal shooter Sindi Gumede, played in the recent three-Test series against Uganda, which South Africa won two-nil.

Gumede is recovering from knee surgery, and has not been in action for five months.

Although she is reported to be making good progress in her aggressive rehabilitation programme, her selection ahead of Maryka Holtzhausen may cause some raised eyebrows.

However, coach Burta de Kock said on Saturday that everything possible was being done to ensure that Gumede went to New Zealand.

"She’s going to have another fitness test on Monday October 8, when we will make a final decision, but I am very keen to have her in the team.

"I know she’s been out of the game for five months and will be ring-rusty, but we need her for her shooting ability, for her height, but most of all for her experience. She is the only member of the team who has played in a World Cup, so we really need her," said De Kock.

Of the other players, Karin Venter, Simnikiwe Malusi, Leigh-Ann Zackey, Adele Niemand and Christine Markgraaff went to the Commonwealth Games, while several squad members played in the Under21 World Cup in the United States two years ago.

Captain Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan travelled to the World Cup in Birmingham in 1995 – where South Africa won the silver medal – but she was there purely as a member of the training squad and not the official playing squad.

She missed the following World Cups through illness and injury, and so will be playing in her first major international tournament. "Every coach wants as much experience as possible when going to a tournament like this," said De Kock.

"Tournament netball is different from a Test series. What we would like is good, ongoing experience, but we have selected the most experienced team possible. The players know what is required of them, and they will accept the responsibility."

The team will have another training camp in October and Botswana, who are also playing in the world championships, are expected to travel to South Africa for a number of practice games.

 

The SPAR South African National Netball Team for the 2007 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand:
Spar national netball team:
Sindisiwe Gumede (Zululand)
Christine Markgraaff (Boland)
Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan (Boland) – Captain
Claudia Basson (Boland)
Tsakane Mbewe (Gauteng Central)
Adele Niemand (Free State)
Precious Mthembu (Zululand)
Simnikiwe Malusi (Gauteng Central)
Leigh-Anne Zackey (Gauteng West)
Refiloe Mochaka (Gauteng Central)
Erin Burger (Gauteng North)
Karin Venter (Free State) – Vice Captain
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