Feel it, the 2023 Netball World Cup is finally here!

The wait for the much-anticipated 2023 Netball World Cup is finally over, as the global showpiece is set to officially take centre pass on South African soil for the first time and its first on the African continent in the history of the tournament.

The host nation will look to set the netball world cup tone when they take to the court against Wales in their Pool C opening game at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

South Africa are one of the four favourites to clinch the prestigious trophy alongside the number one ranked Australia, England, and the defending champions New Zealand – who walked away with the winners’ medal at the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool, after narrowly beating the Australians by one goal.

Australia, who are also known as the Diamonds, are the most successful team with 11 world cup titles, while their neighbours the Silver Ferns have won netball world cup five times and should coach Norma Plummer and her Spar Proteas go all the way to the final, they would have to get past the dominant force of Australia and New Zealand if they are to ensure that the trophy remains on home turf come August 6.

The likes of captain fantastic Bongiwe Msomi, experienced defender Karla Pretorius and star player Khanyisa Chawane will be amongst the key players for coach Plummer – who will be leading the side in their second successive world cup.

Msomi will be featuring in her fourth world cup edition and will be desperate to leave the netball national team scene in style by standing on the winners’ podium after falling short at the previous world cup and finishing 4th.

Participating in their 10th world cup tournament, the Spar Proteas will be desperate to deliver in their backyard and in front of their home crowd. With all 16 teams in the Mother City, the host nation will hope that mascot Letsatsi, meaning “sun”, will shine her light and help them keep the cup in Africa.

Here is a look at Spar Proteas Pool C opponents:

Wales: The Welsh Feathers have made a sensational return to the global stage after they missed out at the previous tournament in Liverpool. They will be led by captain Nia Jones, who has a background with the Wales women’s football team.

Wales secured qualification after going unbeaten during the European qualifiers and claiming first place. They are currently ranked number nine.

Sri Lanka: Apart from having a disappointing display at the previous world cup where they finished 15th, like Wales, Sri Lanka had a good run on their road to Cape Town, as they went unbeaten in their Asia World Cup qualifiers. The Lionesses are ranked number 15 and are not expected to cause many problems for South Africans.

Jamaica: The Sunshine Girls have participated in all the netball world cup editions since its inception in 1963. The Island nation will look to get their revenge against the South Africans, who beat them in the pool stage and ended up finishing fifth. Despite being previously beaten by the Spar Proteas, Jamaica will not be a walk in the park as one of the few sides in the world to have beaten the Aussie Diamonds.

Phase 2 of ticket sales for the 2023 World Cup are still on sale (R500 for kids and R700 for adults) and can be purchased via the official tournament website: https://nwc2023.org.za/

South Africa vs Wales – July 28 South Africa vs Sri Lanka – July 29 Jamaica vs South Africa – July 30

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