AUCKLAND - Former South African and current New Zealand netball shooting superstar, Irene van Dyk, is showing her former team some respect ahead of their World Championship quarterfinal clash set for today .
She refused to talk up the Silver Ferns' chances.
Van Dyk, who moved to New Zealand in 2000 and was part of the Proteas' 1995 World Championship silver medal-winning side, has kept a keen eye on the Spar Proteas side throughout the tournament.
The Proteas lost 62-32 to England in their final group stage match on Tuesday, thus finishing second in Pool D and drawing the Silver Ferns in the quarterfinals.
"England didn't have it easy because the Proteas were able to put some good passages of play together," she reckoned.
The low road coming into the tournament would be losing to England and drawing New Zealand in the next round and that's the one the Proteas find themselves on now.
The Silver Ferns have cleaned up in Pool A, but after a flat display against a determined Botswana side on Tuesday, which they won 76-20, Van Dyk is confident her side will recover.
The Proteas have only lost one of their three group stage matches - they beat Malaysia and Barbados - so they are definitely better prepared. Still, their chances are slim.
What the Proteas could do, though, is lose by a smaller margin today and retain some respectability.
Apart from the silly errors that has crept into their game at this tournament, the biggest challenge will be dealing with the aerial game the Silver Ferns play.
While the Proteas have to play an intense passing game before reaching the circle, the Silver Ferns sometimes get there in only two. - Sapa