Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas are performing better than some other, better-paid national teams, and it is time they got the credit they deserve.
That’s the view of Netball South Africa (NSA) President, Cecilia Molokwane, who was speaking to journalists after the Quad Series, in which the SPAR Proteas finished within five goals of two of the world’s top three countries, New Zealand and England. Earlier this month, they achieved their best result against perennial world champions, Australia, losing by just four goals.
“The Proteas are playing better than ever and I am looking forward to seeing them take on the world at the Commonwealth Games,” said Molokwane.
“We want netball to become professional as soon as possible. We realise we can’t do it overnight, but that is our goal.
“At the moment, our top players have to go to Australia, England or New Zealand to earn money. We want to make it possible for them to stay here and focus on their netball.
“We also want to grow the Brutal Fruit Premier League,” she said.
“A highlight of my Presidency so far has been seeing a packed arena for our match against England today. We are excited that the Ellis Park Indoor Arena was sold out (5000) before the match and we didn’t have to bus in a rent-a-crowd. I hope netball fans will turn out in numbers for the Brutal Fruit Premier League later this year.”
Molokwane said she hoped sponsors would take note of the good performances by the SPAR Proteas and appealed to the media to give netball more attention.
Asked about her plans during her presidential tenure, Molokwane said her two main goals were to see the SPAR Proteas improve their world ranking and to take netball back to the people at grassroots level.
“We need to make sure that we can find another Bongi Msomi or Maryke Holtzhausen, so we will be going out to all areas to see if we can unearth hidden talent.”
Molokwane said the national squad would be expanded to 30 players, instead of the current 18. The President also confirmed that legendary Australian Coach, Norma Plummer had been contracted to NSA until the World Cup in Liverpool in 2019 and would be Head Coach of the SPAR Proteas and would be assisted in this role by specialist coach Nicole Cusack also of Australia for the same period. Dr Elsje Jordaan would be the South African coach of the SPAR Proteas, working with Plummer and Cusack and taking care of the SPAR Proteas whilst Plummer and Cusack were out the country and more importantly Jordaan would worth with netball regions in identifying talent for future national duty.
“Australia has been doing this for years, and they are the best team in the world. So in future, there will be the SPAR Proteas squad of 18 players and a President’s Twelve, who will join them at training camps. This will make it easier for us to identify talent and easier for players to make the transition to the top level,” she said.
“We have also decided that the national championships will no longer be on a provincial basis, but would go back to a competition between districts. We believe this will make the championships more competitive. Teams will be divided into an A and a B section, and we are thinking about whether to include a C-section. This will open the championships to more players.”