Spotlight on SA U-21s

Linda Moreotsene

Following the disastrous performance of the senior netball national team last year, the spotlight will this year be on the Under-21s instead.

The team takes part in the World Championships in the Cook Islands next year.

Netball South Africa's development officer Portia Dimu said preparation begin in March.

"We already have the core of the team from the national championships in July, so we will get them together, and invite the national schools team and some National League players for trials in March, when the squad will be chosen.

"Those are the players that we will prepare for Cook Island 2009," Dimu said.

Dimu reflected on the dismal year the senior team has had, after much promise that the standard of netball played by the Proteas is improving.

"There has been some disappointments, the worst being our being outplayed by both Malawi, whom we drew with, and Uganda at home, and us slipping to sixth place from fifth in World rankings and Malawi taking our place," Dimu said.

She attributed the poor performance to the unavailability of some key players, who cannot be with the team because of study and work commitments.