01 June 2020, Pretoria – The International Netball Federation (INF) released their latest netball World Rankings based on all the matches that took place just before all netball matches were suspended due to novel pandemic outbreak including the Vitality Netball Nations Cup that took place in January.
This tournament saw the SPAR Proteas square up against New Zealand, England, and Jamaica. The Sunshine girls finished as runners up after losing to World Champions New Zealand, South Africa finished fourth after losing the play offs match against Commonwealth Champions and hosts England.
According to the latest World Rankings, South Africa has retained their fifth position with 148 ranking points. The only country that has moved up is Jamaica who are now ranked third. England has moved one position down to fourth, both countries have 172 ranking points.
“The announcement by INF on World Rankings is well received and as Netball South Africa, we are happy that we have not moved down the pecking order, if you look at our ranking points, we have significantly improved there. It is our goal to move up the table, this is a work in progress and I honestly believe that we will ultimately get there very soon. I am very proud of the team as a collective because everyone is working hard to do better and be the best,” said Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane.
Due to the current lockdown, the SPAR Proteas have also been dealt another blow in their attempt to getting back to court and competing at global stages. On Sunday 31st May, Netball Australia announced that the Quad Series which was scheduled to take place in September has been cancelled and a new date will be negotiated with all the affected associations. Countries that were going to participate in the Quad Series included World Champions New Zealand, Africa Cup Champs South Africa, Commonwealth Champions England, and hosts Australia.
The SPAR Proteas coaching duo, Dorette Badenhorst and Dumisani Chauke were looking forward to this tournament so that they can improve the team’s rankings. This was the next international tournament that the team would be participating in had there been no lockdown.
“I mean, it is very sad that we have had to agree to cancelling this tournament however the reasons for doing this are justifiable. The well-being of our team is of paramount importance and we therefore needed to make sure that we take all the necessary precautions to protect everyone. It is always a privilege to play against teams that are ranked above us, this helps us get better and be the best. What the world is going through is unprecedented and everyone is doing their best to make sure that all stakeholders are protected and that we return to play when it is safe to do so. We will work very close with all the other countries to make sure that when we return to play, it is safe to do so,” concluded Molokwane.
The cancelled Quad Series was scheduled to take place between the 20th – 27th September 2020 across various cities in Australia and New Zealand. Netball South Africa CEO, Ms. Blanche de la Guerre is having ongoing conversations with her counterparts from England, New Zealand, and Australia to find a suitable date for the Quad Series to be played again.