The two South African netball teams set to do battle at the Diamond Challenge in Limpopo this coming week were announced by national coach Norma Plummer in Tshwane on Sunday.
Following a week-long training camp, two teams were selected to take on national sides from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia over five days of scintillating action at the Ngoako Ramathlodi Sports Complex in Seshego from 27 November to 1 December.
South Africa will be represented by the SPAR Proteas as well as a President’s XII, which will showcase some of the up and coming stars of the game.
Speaking at the announcement, Plummer explained: “I was extremely happy with the standard of players at camp to be able to select the strongest possible SPAR Protea Team said coach Norma Plummer.
Plummer when asked about South Africa’s dominance in previous tournaments added ‘”We will respect all teams we play in the Diamond Challenge and we will be working hard to win these games confidently. Africa play a unique style of netball and our girls need to adapt to that style as four African players will be at the World Cup in Liverpool next year and the SPAR Proteas need to be well prepared.
Plummer said that it was important for the Presidents 12 were part of the Diamond Challenge. “We need to develop the next tier of athletes with international experience as they are the feeder team to the SPAR Proteas and in case of injuries the Presidents 12 will give us replacement options.’
Bongi Msomi was named as captain of the SPAR Proteas side, with Karla Pretorius serving as vice-captain. Jessica Khomo was selected to fill the captain’s role for the President’s XII team, with Danelle Lochner as her vice-captain.
SPAR Protea captain Bongi Msomi added ‘I am very happy for the platform the Diamond Challenge will act as for all the young players, it is very important for them to get exposed to playing teams from other countries ’
Team vice-captain Karla Pretorius Group said ‘ I feel confident going into the Diamond Challenge. We have a strong and solid team. The competition is not going to be easy as the African countries are improving all the time and are hungry to impress against the SPAR Proteas. We are excited about this week in Limpopo – Zimbabwe is the strongest competition, but also we will be not be underestimating Botswana and our won Presidents IIX teams.”
Diamond Challenge action gets under way on Tuesday afternoon at 3pm with the SPAR Proteas taking on neighbours Namibia before Botswana battle it out with Zimbabwe at 5pm. The last match of the day will then see the President’s XII up against Zambia.
Entrance to all the games is free of charge on a first come, first served basis, and for those who can’t make it to Limpopo the games will be broadcast live on SuperSport 8.
SPAR Proteas: Erin Bruger, Sigrid Burger, Khanyisa Chawane, Rome Dryer, Maryka Holtzhausen, Phumza Maweni, Bongiwe Msomi (Captain), Lenize Potgieter, Karla Pretorius (Vice-captain), Renske Stoltz, Shadine van de Merwe and Zanele Vimbela.
President’s XII: Stephanie Brandt, Marlize de Bruin, Zandre Erasmus,Kgomotso Itlhabanyeng, Jessica Khomo (Captain), Danelle Lochner (Vice-captain), Chante Louw, Yandiswa Makasi, Lentsa Motau, Nozipho Ntshangase, Lefebre Rademan, Monique Reyneke and Talja Venter.