Netball Proteas set for tri-nation series

21 October 2013

South Africa will be out to make maximum use of their home ground advantage when they take on England and Trinidad and Tobago in a Tri-Nations netball series at the NMMU Indoor Sports Centre in Port Elizabeth from Tuesday.

Spar Proteas’ captain Maryka Holtzhausen and her side are determined to improve their performances after losing 3-0 to England in a test series on British soil last month.

“The Tri-Nations is definitely an opportunity, I wouldn’t say for payback, but for improvement,” Holtzhausen said in a statement late last week.

‘Perfect platform’

“We knew what we had to work on after we came back from England and the Tri-Nations gives us the perfect platform to measure our improvements.

“The scene is surely set for a hotly contested competition.”

Although England, who are currently ranked third in the world rankings, are the favourites on paper, Holtzhausen said being the underdogs could work in favour of South Africa, who are ranked sixth in the world.

‘A very physical team’

“They’re a very physical team, with accurate shooters and pace throughout the court, which we are prepared for.

“We’ve worked hard on our attack and changed a few things, but our big strength is definitely our defence.”

Star defender and South Africa’s most-capped player Zanele Mdodana makes a welcome return to the national squad after struggling with injuries recently.

‘Really hungry’

“Zanele had a great training camp last week. She is 100 percent and really hungry to play excellent netball, like we know she can. We are very privileged to have her back for the Tri-Nations,” Holtzhauzen commented.

She said Trinidad and Tobago, who occupy ninth spot in the world rankings, would be the dark horse of the series.

“We never underestimate any team. We will be going into the Trinidad and Tobago match with the same mind-set as any other test.”

Fixtures

The series starts on Tuesday with South Africa taking on Trinidad and Tobago, while the hosts face England on Wednesday. On Thursday, Trinidad and Tobago meet England. The final, to be played on Friday, will be the two leading teams on the log.

All matches start at 17:30 and the games will be televised on DSTV.

Although tickets are virtually sold out, organisers say seats are still available for the Diamond Challenge series against Zambia and Zimbabwe, which follows from 27 to 30 October at the same venue.

SAinfo reporter