2022 Commonwealth Games Preview: South Africa
THE 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England and just around the corner. To celebrate, we are previewing each of the competing netball nations and predicting how they might fare in the tournament.
Today it is South Africa, who finished fifth back in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Having just missed out on the semi finals last time around on the Gold Coast, the South Africans will certainly be looking to take the next step up and try and push for the medals this time around.
They have also beaten three of the top four teams since their last major tournament, so they will also take the confidence from that into this tournament.
Another thing that they have over their more fancied opponents is that they have more international game time under their belts than their opponents in recent years due to regular participation in the Africa Netball Cup. Yes they have dominated all their opponents there, but this still international level netball, something that has been scarce for a number of the top countries in the past few years due to the pandemic.
However, there are a number of stalwarts missing from this year’s Games squad (including Maryka Holtzhausen, Erin Burger and Karla Pretorius), so the question will be how do the Proteas cover the experience gap left by their absences?
Another missing from the squad is shooter Lenize Potgieter. She was originally in the squad but failed the relevant pre-Games medical tests after she travelled with the team to face Wales in a test series. She has been replaced in the squad by Nicole Taljaard.
With Potgieter’s omission leaves a great opportunity for Ine-Mari Venter, who previously was the second choice goal shooter behind Potgieter, but has proven she can match it with the best so will certainly be looking to take this opportunity with both hands.
In the other thirds of the court, the likes of Bongi Msomi and Phumza Maweni are world class players in midcourt and defence respectively. Msomi will be key in feeding the ball through to the attacking circle that could include not just Venter, but Lefébre Rademan as well, whilst Shadine Van der Merwe and Zanele Vimbela are terrific defensive players.
In terms of South Africa’s schedule, they face a very different pool stage to the one they faced four years ago.
They do have Barbados, Jamaica and Australia again, but they did not face either Wales or Scotland last time around.
However they have just completed a test match series against Wales which they gave a strong performance in, and they will be facing both Northern Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago in some practise matches ahead of the games, so match fitness will definitely not be a concern come game day against Jamaica.
Khanyisa Chawane, Izette Griesel, Phumza Maweni, Tshinakaho Mdau, Bongiwe Msomi, Nicole Taljaard, Lefebre Rademan, Nicola Smith, Elmeré van der Berg, Shadine van der Merwe, Ine-Marí Venter, Zanele Vimbela
Saturday 30 July – Jamaica
Sunday 31 July – Barbados
Monday 1st – Australia
Wednesday 3 August – Wales
Thursday 4 August – Scotland