Tough Pool C will help us set the standard early, says SA skipper

By Sthembiso Nkabinde

The first Netball World Cup on African soil is only 12 days away and the excitement is at an all time high among the players that will be representing the country.

All eyes will be on the Proteas as they do their best to impress the home crowd at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from July 28 to August 6.

Sixteen nations from across the globe will gather in the Mother City to compete for the ultimate prize in netball, with the tournament set to span over two action-packed weeks.

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

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

The last time they finished on the podium at the world cup was exactly 28 years ago when they bagged the silver medal after finishing in second place behind Australia during the 1995 tournament held in Birmingham, England.

The Proteas will set the ball rolling against the Welsh Feathers on the opening day, followed by Sri Lanka on the July 29, with the all-important clash against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls taking place a day later.

For this tournament, the Proteas will be relying on their inspirational captain Bongiwe Msomi as well as stalwarts Phumza Maweni, Karla Pretorius and Lenize Potgieter to lead from the front.

Skipper Msomi, who boasts over 150 caps for her country, insists that “a podium finish would be fantastic”, but is wary of their opponents.

“It is massive that the world cup is coming to our home soil and to be part of it is pretty exciting,” said Msomi.

“I think we are ready to take on this challenge, and in saying this, the excitement for now is just about meeting the group and taking it one step at a time in our preparations.

“It’s a pretty tough pool we’re in. Wales are a great side, our last Test series against them was tough, although we won all three of our games.

“We all know that Jamaica have been playing solid netball recently, they finished second at the Commonwealth Games.

“We haven’t played Sri Lanka in a long time, but I still wouldn’t underestimate any team.

“We seem to be lucky with not having it easy in the group stages, which might be good in the sense that it will set the standard early for us.”

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