honing new ball skills
The South African netball coaching staff are getting ready to test what they learnt on their week-long trip to Singapore earlier this month.
The senior team will host Barbados, the Caribbean country that occupies eighth spot on the world rankings - one place above South Africa, who are ninth.
As part of trying to get the team back into being one of the best in the world, coach Carin Venter and her assistant Cecilia Molokoane went on a coaching course in Singapore, the results of which should start bearing fruit, Molokoane said.
"We learnt how to help players learn about on-court decision- making. What has been a big problem for us in the past was [that] we would play well in the first two quarters and then lose focus in the final two, thereby allowing the opponents to catch up and surpass us. So, our endurance is also one of the factors we have been working on," Molokoane said.
The 15-member team chosen to take on the islanders went on a training camp this weekend. Five new caps were introduced into the squad, and will get their first taste of international competition. This is also in line with the process of rebuilding the team.
The five are Mary Ngwenya, Annemarie Frost, Amanda Mynhardt, Zukelwa Cwaba and Simone van Heerden.
These days, international rankings are reviewed every six months and the more matches a country plays, the higher it goes up the rankings.
Molokoane said the country had to be vigilant, as only the top 11 teams can ake part in the Commonwealth Games.
"We have a duty to keep the team we have now together so they can get used to playing together and take us to all those tournaments," said Molokoane.
The Commonwealth Games take place in India in 2010.
The squad: Claudia Basson (Griqualand West), Tsakane Mbewe (Gauteng Central), Mary Ngwenya (Gauteng Central), Annemarie Frost (Gauteng North), Refiloe Mochaka (Gauteng Central), Zanele Mdodana (Nelson Mandela Bay), Erin Burger (Gauteng North), Lizel Wium (Griqualand West), Precious Mthembu (eThekwini), Amanda Mynhardt (North West South), Zukelwa Cwaba (Amathole), Simone van Heerden (Gauteng North), Adele Niemand (Free State), Bongiwe Msomi (KwaZulu-Natal Midlands), Kgomotso Itlhabanyeng (North West East).