Netball players worth keeping an eye on

By Sthembiso Nkabinde

It’s all-systems-go for the 2023 Netball World Cup – the first on African soil – scheduled to take place in Cape Town from July 28 to August 6.

The Mother City will play host to the world as 16 of the best netball-playing nations descend on the International Convention Centre (ICC) for the global showpiece.

The planning and organising is nearly concluded and the local organising committee is confident of delivering a uniquely African Netball World Cup.

And with the tournament now just over a month away, anticipation is at an all-time high from the netball-loving South African public.

The Proteas, who will have the entire nation rallying behind them as they play on home soil, are in a tricky Pool C alongside Jamaica, Wales and Sri Lanka.

They will be desperate to put on a good show at home and finish on the podium, going at least one better than their fourth place finish in the last edition in England.

Their Australian coach Norma Plummer, who was in charge of the team in the last tournament, has picked a strong squad of 15 players to do the nation proud.

Among those who will have the honour of running out in front of the adoring home crowd is explosive Proteas wing attack Khanyisa Chawane.

The 27-year-old can hardly wait to take to the court in front of her loved ones, and believes the first World Cup on African soil will inspire many young girls.

“It means so much, I mean we have families that are always watching us and showing us support on TV but now they have the opportunity to watch us at the biggest stage on home soil,” said Chawane.

“It means so much that we will have our families and loved ones there supporting us. It’s such an inspiration to the young girls in South Africa who aspire to play at this stage one day. I mean, just witnessing the World Cup on home soil will be important for them to keep chasing their dreams.”

Chawane will be one of the players to watch for the Proteas, and Sunday World looks at other players who could make a big impact.

Karla Pretorius: The the world-renowned defender, who claimed the Most Valuable Player accolade at the last Netball World Cup in Liverpool, will once against look to steal the show.

Pretorius, who gave birth to her first child last year, made a return to the court for her first season back with the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball league.

Plummer will once again rely on Pretorius’ experience as she has made a name for herself as one of the best interceptors in the game, constantly working hard to win the ball back for her team.

Bongiwe Msomi: Msomi, the inspirational leader, will be one of the most experienced players for the Proteas, with well over a century of caps for the national team.

On the court, Msomi displays extraordinary netball IQ and is one of the most explosive mid-courters who can play both as a centre and wing attack.

Her leadership skills are also second to none in the team and she will be a key member of Plummer’s team on and off the court.

Phumza Maweni: Maweni might have started her career late given she was 29 when she made her Proteas debut under former coach Elize Kotze, but has risen to the very top nonetheless.

The experienced defender will be playing her last World Cup this year as she prepares to hang up her takkies in the coming years.

Her partnership in defence with fellow veteran Pretorius will be immense for the Proteas as they look to finish on the podium.

Lenize Potgieter: Potgieter is a lethal weapon for the Proteas in attack with her deadly accuracy and tidiness under the goal posts her biggest strengths.

The lanky goal shooter also brings a wealth of experience against some top defenders, having played in New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership and Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball.

Ine-Marí Venter: Another player with poise and supreme accuracy with the ball is Venter, and she will form a strong partnership in attack with the deadly Potgieter.

Venter, who can play as a goal shooter and goal attack, has added some new elements to her game in recent years which have done her international career the world of good.

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