Proteas ready to end Malawi jinx

CARIN Strauss, coach of the Spar national netball team, believes the Proteas are ready to take on and beat Malawi in the three-Test Series in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, next week.

CARIN Strauss, coach of the Spar national netball team, believes the Proteas are ready to take on and beat Malawi in the three-Test Series in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, next week.

The matches will be held at the Bhekuzulu Hall indoor sport centre at the University of Zululand on April 21, 23 and 24. Entrance is free.

Strauss and her charges will have to pull out all the stops to overcome the Malawians, who have caused them so much grief over the past few years.

The South Africans have to win the series and improve their international ranking so that they can take part in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year.

They have been warned by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) that they will not be included in Team South Africa for the Games if they do not improve their rankings to five. South Africa are currently ranked sixth, while Malawi are fifth.

In recent years Malawi have been a thorn in South Africa's side, beating them at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 and finishing ahead of the Proteas in the World Championships in New Zealand in 2007.

Malawi also beat South Africa in the final of the Cosana Games in Durban last September.

The Proteas have been working hard in preparation for the crucial series against Malawi. They held several training camps and all members of the national squad took part in the merit tournament held at the University of Pretoria earlier this month.

Strauss said after the merit tournament that she was happy with the readiness of the team.

"They have been working hard on their fitness programmes and they all looked pretty sharp on the court," she said. "I think we're ready to take on Malawi and beat them."

Nthabiseng Moabi has a crucial role to play for the Proteas. - Sowetan

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