Liverpool, United Kingdom: It was most fitting that on the eve of Mandela Day, the SPAR Proteas scored 67 goals in defeating Uganda in their crucial Netball World Cup game on Wednesday night in Liverpool, England.
And the team’s final goal tally of 67 goals was very much the target as South Africa sent their African counterparts packing 67-40 to earn a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.
It’s the first time South Africa have ever reached a netball World Cup semi-final.
“We were hoping to play Uganda on Mandela Day but the World Cup order of play scheduled the game for Wednesday evening,” said SPAR Proteas captain Bongi Msomi.
“So the SPAR Proteas said that seeing Madiba has fought for social justice for 67 years we were going to target 67 goals as our winning score, one goal for each of those 67 years.
“We did just that and on this Mandela Day, we are inspired to do our very best over the weekend now that we have made the semi-finals” continued Msomi.
Karla Pretorius, the SPAR Proteas Vice-Captain agreed.
“Nelson Mandela remains such an inspiration to not only all of South Africa but the world. We as South African netball players know that Nelson Mandela used sport as an important tool in uniting our
country and making it a true ‘Rainbow Nation’. As we remain unbeaten at this Netball World Cup we are inspired to do even better as we know that our success is inspiring the nation back home, we are
feeling the love coming from back home and we are sure that Nelson Mandela would be so proud of our efforts … so to him, we give this glory.”
The SPAR Proteas, Netball South Africa and all South African supporters in Liverpool gathered together on Mandela Day in Liverpool to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and chanted “Viva Madiba Viva!
Viva Nelson Mandela Viva! Viva Mandela Day Viva!”
A loyal netball fan, Karel Prinsloo who had travelled all the way from Kimberley to support the SPAR Proteas in Liverpool was in awe being pictured with his favourite sporting team in on Mandela Day.
“Madiba is such a great inspiration and on his special day, the SPAR Proteas took time out of their schedule to join us fans and take a group picture and honour Madiba. This is so special and I feel that
today Madiba’s legacy will inspire the team to win a medal at the Netball World Cup.”
South Africa face England in their final preliminary group decider on Thursday night 21h00 (South African time). Depending on the outcome of the game against England, South Africa will know who their
semi-final opponents on Saturday will be.
Defending world champions Australia defeated New Zealand 50-49 in their final preliminary game on Thursday.
The SPAR Proteas are joined by hosts England, Australia and New Zealand in the semi-finals.
All games are live on SuperSport SS10.