Johannesburg, South Africa – South African netball has made great strides in the past few years and could challenge for a medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Australian Gold Cost next year.
That’s the view of Australian Diamonds head coach Liza Alexander, who said on Wednesday that the SPAR Proteas had blossomed under World Cup-winning coach Norma Plummer.
“They have improved their physicality on the court and have also learned to assert themselves throughout all four quarters,” said Alexander.
“I think the most important thing is they have learnt to play competitively at the highest level and I think the Quad Series has been instrumental in developing their new attitude.”
The Quad Series, involving Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa, moves to England and South Africa next month. In the London leg, the Proteas will play just one match, against the Diamonds, on January 20. The action then moves to the Ellis Park indoor Arena, where the Proteas will play the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the England Roses.
Alexander said the Quad Series would do much to help the teams prepare for the Commonwealth Games.
“It will be our last international outing before Commonwealth Games, so we will be able to try out various combinations and see what we need to do before the biggest event of the year,” she said.
“We have chosen what we believe is the strongest squad to travel to London and Johannesburg. We have had a very successful year, winning every match, except one against the Silver Ferns. But we came back strongly to win the Constellation Cup and we plan to carry on the same way in 2018.”
She said the dramatic improvement by African teams such as South Africa, Malawi and Uganda was important for netball internationally.
“Netball is increasing its global footprint, and maybe one day we can find ourselves competing in the Olympic Games,” said Alexander.
“The rise of netball in Africa and Asia is essential for that.”