Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas netball team and their new head coach Dr. Elsje Jordaan will have to hit the ground running next year.
A squad of 18 will gather on January 10 for a training camp, followed by trials for the Quad Series in London and Johannesburg later in the month.
The Quad Series matches in London will be played at the Copper Box Arena on January 20 and 22, after which the four teams, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa will travel to Johannesburg for the South Africa leg at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena on January 25 and 28.
“This will also be the last chance for the players to impress the selectors ahead of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April,” Jordaan told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We have invited some of the players who have been injured to come to the camp and we are delighted that Ziggie Burger and Izette Lubbe, who have been sidelined by injury, are back in action and will be at the camp.”
She said Rochelle Lawson was the only member of the team that went to the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand last year who is not available for selection.
Jordaan said the 18 players invited to the camp had all been part of the squad groomed and trained by her predecessor, Australian Norma Plummer and her assistant Nicole Cusack
“I am not planning to come in and make big changes,” said Jordaan.
“Norma and Nicole will be here for the training camp and trials, and Norma will continue to take the lead, while I learn as much as I can from her. There are no egos involved. The system is working and I am not planning any dramatic changes.”
Jordaan said conditioning and the building up of upper body strength would be areas she would be focussing on.
“We have seen how our players who have played in professional leagues in England, Australia and New Zealand have improved because of their conditioning and that is what we want to get right with all our players. I plan to work with the provincial coaches so that we can raise the level across the board. Physicality is a major aspect of international netball,” she said.
Jordaan said she was aware of the need to introduce some younger players into the squad, to ensure a smooth transition when some of the older players retired.
“I am not sure that the Commonwealth Games is the ideal place to blood young players, though,” she said.
“The Commonwealth Games are the closest netball gets to the Olympic Games. It is a difficult tournament and you don’t got to Commonwealth to gain experience.”