SA netball coach calls for national league
Barely a day after Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa pledged R5-million towards the formation of a national women’s soccer league‚ Proteas netball coach Norma Plummer has reiterated her call for the introduction of a professional league in South Africa.
The Proteas are in Liverpool where they take on England‚ New Zealand and Australia in the ongoing Quad Series‚ where they are outsiders because their opposition have established professional leagues in their countries.
England have the Super League‚ New Zealand players compete in the ANZ Premiership while Australians have the Suncorp Super Netball League‚ where some South African players have been invited to play.
England are the reigning Commonwealth Games champions‚ New Zealand are the World Cup silver medalists and Australia are reigning world champions in netball‚ while South Africa are placed fifth on the International Netball Federation (INF) rankings.
Last weekend the Proteas lost to 62-45 to the Australian Diamonds in round one of the Quad Series despite having been in the lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I think we played reasonably well against Australia‚ particularly in the first half‚ because we took it right up to them. But what has to be understood is that Australia have a fulltime daily training environment and South Africa doesn’t have this‚” said Proteas coach Plummer.
“I have just five days to get them together while the Australians have camp after camp with their team together.
“They also play in a fulltime professional national league where players are professional athletes who do not have to work. Australia are the world champions and South Africa are ranked fifth.”
The series continues this weekend with the Proteas scheduled to play against England and New Zealand in the second round and Plummer said her team need to improve on key performance indicators (KPIs).
“We’ll be looking at ways to achieve those KPIs on Saturday and Sunday. Last time we played England‚ we were within three goals of beating them.
“England and New Zealand are like Australia because of their competitions. They have 14 rounds‚ plus finals‚ while South Africa doesn’t have a national league to that standard. It really has to come if they are to compete.”
Several South African players‚ including captain Bongiwe Msomi‚ goal defence Karla Pretorius and goal shooter Lenize Potgieter‚ have gained valuable experience playing in the Australian‚ New Zealand and England leagues.