27 November 2018

Southern Africa: Namibia Face SA in Tough Opening Match

Namibia open their account with a tough match against the favourites South Africa at the Netball Diamond Challenge in Limpopo on Tuesday afternoon.

The match, which will be televised live on SuperSport, is scheduled to start at 15h00 after the opening ceremony which starts at 14h30.

The Diamond Challenge features the national teams of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as an upcoming South African Presidents team. The teams will play each other on a league round robin basis from today through to Saturday, at the Ngoako Ramatlhodi Indoor Sport Complex in Seshego, Limpopo.

In other matches on Tuesday, Zimbabwe take on Botswana at 17h00, while Zambia will take on the South African President's team at 19h00.

The Namibian team was not available at the time of writing, but both the South African teams were.

According to a press release issued by BLD Communications, the two teams were selected after a week long training camp, with the Spar Proteas representing South Africa, while the President's XII will showcase some of the up and coming stars of the game.

Speaking at the announcement, South Africa's coach Norma Plummer explained: "I was extremely happy with the standard of players at camp to be able to select the strongest possible Spar Protea team."

Plummer when asked about South Africa's dominance in previous tournaments added '"We will respect all teams we play in the Diamond Challenge and we will be working hard to win these games confidently. Africa play a unique style of netball and our girls need to adapt to that style as four African players will be at the World Cup in Liverpool next year and the Spar Proteas need to be well prepared.

Plummer said that it was important for the Presidents 12 to be part of the Diamond Challenge. "We need to develop the next tier of athletes with international experience as they are the feeder team to the Spar Proteas and in case of injuries the Presidents 12 will give us replacement options.'

Bongi Msomi was named as captain of the Spar Proteas side, with Karla Pretorius serving as vice-captain. Jessica Khomo was selected to fill the captain's role for the President's XII team, with Danelle Lochner as her vice-captain.

Spar Protea captain Bongi Msomi added 'I am very happy for the platform the Diamond Challenge will act as for all the young players, it is very important for them to get exposed to playing teams from other countries '

Team vice-captain Karla Pretorius Group said, 'I feel confident going into the Diamond Challenge. We have a strong and solid team. The competition is not going to be easy as the African countries are improving all the time and are hungry to impress against the Spar Proteas. We are excited about this week in Limpopo - Zimbabwe is the strongest competition, but we won't underestimate Botswana and our own Presidents XII teams."

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