Netball World Cup in Mzansi lived up to expectations

The first Netball World Cup on African soil is drawing to a close today and will go down as one of the most exciting and memorable in history.

It has been nine days of non-stop exhilarating action at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Cape Town, with some of the best netball on display.

The tournament has been unpredictable, with some of the heavyweights getting the shock of their lives at some point.

The likes of New Zealand and Australia have not had it their way with Jamaica and England also making their presence felt.

Meanwhile, there has not been much to cheer about for the home team, with the Proteas’ fight for a place in the semifinals coming to a disappointing end on Thursday.

Norma Plummer’s girls might have beaten Uganda 52-50 in that crucial match but it was not enough to see them progress through to the World Cup semifinals.

Their goal difference was significantly lower than New Zealand’s, meaning their dream of finishing on the podium for the first time since 1995 will remain just that – a dream.

In the build-up to the World Cup, there had been a lot of talking of the hosts sealing a podium finish but it wasn’t to be.

The Proteas will now hope to keep their world ranking as they play for fifth position against Uganda today.


Best performing players:

Liz Watson, the talented wing attack and the Aussie skipper, has been a stand-out performer for her side throughout the tournament. Watson, as expected, orchestrated the attacking plays for the Diamonds through her impressive vision and passing.

Another player who has caught the eye is Khadija Williams of Jamaica. The wing attack has been instrumental for the Sunshine Girls with her ball distribution ability setting her apart and benefiting her teammates. 

Although the Proteas had a somewhat underwhelming tournament, it wasn’t for a lack of effort from their impressive  goal shooter Nichole Taljaard. The talented shooter had a memorable moment when she pulled off a stunning buzzer beating shot to earn her side a 48-48 draw against the defending champions in the Pool stages. Other players who caught the eye are Kate Heffernan of New Zealand, Takondwa Lwazi of Malawi and Chelsea Pittman of England


Surprise packages: 

There were no surprises among the teams who went through to contest at the business end of the World Cup with the top four on the latest world rankings all advancing in the competition.

However, Malawi did capture the hearts of netball lovers with some of their brave efforts. Uganda also did their growing reputation little harm with their exploits, which included close defeats to defending champions New Zealand and the Proteas 



Playing on home soil in front of a loud home crowd, the Proteas were backed to have one of their best campaigns in the history of the global show-piece. 

However, the hosts were unable to secure a place on the podium despite all the support and have to be considered  the flops of the tournament.


New talent:

Proteas goal shooter Taljaard came into the World Cup boasting the fearlessness of youth and delivered the goods. Little doubt that she will be a star of the future for the Proteas, as will Sesandile Owethu Ngubane who got an opportunity after veteran goal shooter Lenize Potgieter got injured. Heffernan for the Silver Ferns is another young player who raised her hand high. Her versatility in defence and attack stands her in good stead for the future and should be a key player for New Zealand. 


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