South Africa pulls out of tri-series with Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago

WITH the Margaret Beckford Sunshine Series between Jamaica, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago expected to be in full bloom from this Sunday, October 10, the South African Spar Proteas have made the difficult decision to call off their trip to Jamaica citing continued COVID-19 concerns. Instead, the Jamaican Sunshine Girls and Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Girls will go head-to-head in an updated series within a shorter time frame, set to compete in three matches between October 16-22, while the South Africa Spar Proteas will play replacement tests in the UK.

Netball South Africa president, Cecilia Molokwane explained that while she is disappointed the nation will not be able to gain vital preparation against Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, alternate playing opportunities have already been arranged to ensure the players’ hard work did not go to waste.

“The players who are selected for the national team have really put in all the hard work ahead of the Jamaica series,” Molokwane said. “Saving lives has always and will always be our number one priority, we therefore needed to make the best decision for the team, players and country as well.

“At the same time, we could not allow their hard work and preparation go to waste and it was important that we enter into negotiations with other countries immediately to make sure that we give the team much needed game time,” she added.

Instead, the Proteas will play a series of individual tests in the UK throughout October, first taking on Northern Ireland before traveling to take on Wales and Scotland before returning home.

Jamaican captain Jhaniele Fowler said she wishes that the South African team “could still have made it here” but is looking forward to playing international netball once more.

“We are a little disappointed, but we know how the world is going at the moment and so we are expecting anything to happen,” Fowler said. “However, the players are looking forward to playing T&T because it is an international series, and it is a chance for us to look at where we are at and to see how we adjust when we come up against a different style of play.”

“Nothing has changed because we are still preparing intensely, we are still making sure that we are still putting out our 100 per cent out there in training,” she said.

“The preparations have been intense, and girls have been giving it their all in training and I know that we are going to put up a good showing against T&T.”

Both nations are set to field their best teams and take no prisoners, with Fowler more than aware of the Calypso Girls’ strengths despite not playing a test since the 2019 Netball World Cup, having played against captain Sam Wallace in the Suncorp Super Netball.

“I reckon that they are going to have a lot of experience in their team, and I know that they are going to give us a really good fight,” Fowler continued. “We won’t be taking them lightly and we will not be going out there and leaving ourselves short because they always want to come out and play their best against us and so I am pretty sure that we have to play our ‘A’ game against them.”

The new-look Sunshine Series between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago will see matches on Saturday, October 16, Monday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 20.

Full squads:

South Africa Spar Proteas

Phumza Maweni, Boitumelo Mahloko, Karla Pretorius, Simoné Rabie, Monique Reyneke, Bongiwe Msomi (c), Refiloe Nketsa, Tshinakaho Mdau, Izette Griesel, Khanyisa Chawane, Ine-Marí Venter, Lefebré Rademan, Sigi Burger, Elmeré van der Berg, Jessica du Plessis

Jamaica Sunshine Girls

Gezelle Allison, Shanice Beckford, Paula Ann Burton, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Nicola Dixon, Jhaniele Fowler (c), Shadian Hemmings, Shannika Johnson, Malysha Kelly, Amanda Pinkney, Rebekah Robinson, Shamera Sterling, Adean Thomas, Jodi-Ann Ward, Khadijah Williams, Latanya Wilson

Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Girls

Samantha Wallace (c), Kalifa McCollin (c), Jameela McCarthy, Afeisha Noel, Oprah Douglas, Tia Bruno, Janeisha Cassimy, Destiny Williams, Shaquanda Greene-Noel, Aneicia Baptiste, Crystal Ann George, Jeresia McEachrane

Picture credit: Netball South Africa

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