Netball SA have selected a blend of experience and youth for their upcoming Fast5 Netball World Series that takes place in New Zealand next month.
The Fast5 version of netball has taken the game by storm since its introduction and has heralded an exciting new era for global netball. Much like Sevens rugby or T20 cricket, Fast5 is a shorter, faster version of the netball played with two fewer players on either side.
The team was selected from the 12 strong squad that played against an Australian Invitational Team in the SPAR International Netball Series in Potchefstroom last week. Netball SA director of selectors Christine du Preez said the federation was very confident in the team and their chances to do well in the global netball’s premier Fast5 competition.
The team is: Maryka Holtzhausen (captain), Vanes-Mari du Toit, Mari-Lena Joubert, Elsunet du Plessis, Lauren-Lee Christians, Tumelo Mantjiu, Amanda Mynhardt, Shadine van der Merwe, Phumza Maweni and Bhongo Nqubeni. Injuries have ruled out Lindie Lombard and Lenise Potgieter while Thuli Qegu had to withdraw from the team due to academic commitments.
“We’ve assembled a very talented group of players who performed superbly against some of Australia’s finest up and coming players. The team has a very good balance between experience and upcoming new stars who have shown a lot of potential,” she said.
South Africa performed well at the 2013 Fast 5 Netball World Series and ended the competition in fourth place after gutsy wins of England and Malawi.
Netball South Africa President Mimi Mthethwa said the federation had learned much from their experiences at the tournament last year and had planned accordingly.
“We have been monitoring the players closely over the year and are confident that we have selected a group that can be called specialists at this version of the game. In Fast5 the tempo is much higher and decision need to be made very quickly among others so we needed to identify players that could excel in this format. We are confident that we have a team that will do very well in the World Series,” she said.
The team will be coached by SPAR Proteas head coach Elize Kotze who is also confident of a strong showing next month. Kotze put her team through their paces at the SPAR International Series last week and was content with what she saw there. “The girls handled themselves very well in the Series, we kept to our game plan and that was only the beginning. We will work on a few things in the build up to the tournament but we are confident of doing very well against very good opposition,” she said.
South Africa depart on November 2 and will play warm-up matches against Jamaica, England and Australia ahead of the tournament. Matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.