World Cup worries for SA national team coach
South Africa's national netball team coach Dorette Badenhorst is concerned that the side's preparations for the World Cup in 2023 in Cape Town are going to suffer if the players do not get back to court soon.
Netball has been suspended for almost three months due to the Covid-19 outbreak and there is no clear indication from government as to when non-contact training is going to resume.
Badenhorst said that SA may struggle to catch up with top ranked countries like Australia‚ New Zealand‚ Jamaica and England at the World Cup if they don’t return to playing soon.
“The difference between those top four countries above us is that they all have professional leagues running‚” she said.
“The Suncorp Super Netball in Australia is starting in August and the ANZ Premiership in New Zealand will start very soon. Most of the Jamaican players are either playing in New Zealand or Australia.
"They are all playing in a national or professional league at this stage and we only have five players from South Africa that will be in a national league in Australia.
“That’s why we keep on saying that it is important that the league must happen here in SA. I spoke to the president (Cecilia Molokwane) and she is trying to get those players that missed out in England to come back and play here because the league in England has stopped.
"We can’t afford to have players like Zanele Vimbela‚ Sigi Burger and Khanyisa Chawane‚ who are based in England‚ not playing netball this year.
"It is so important to have the league running in SA because it is the only netball we are going to get and if we are not playing netball‚ we are never going to catch-up with those teams that are ranked above us and have professional leagues.”
Badenhorst added that if was not for the Covid-19 disruption‚ their preparations would have been on track with players playing and having had a training camp in April.
“At this stage we are supposed to be working with a group of at least 35 players and those players were supposed to be playing in the domestic league‚" he said.
"As coaches we would have identified new players or those that we missed previously. There are players who will not be available for us from last year's (squad)‚ so it is important to look at different positions and see if there is new talent out there and put them on high performance programme.
“The lockdown is a problem for everyone in the sporting world and we are lucky to be in our first year of our preparations for 2023 World Cup and not a year before the competition.
"I have been in the job since October and we only had a few months to work. We were forced to stop‚ which is not a good situation to be in.
"It is important to realise that the international season is running from August until February and then players will go to their different franchises or teams.
"At this stage‚ we would have worked with players to get our group a little bit bigger.
"The April training camp was really important because we selected a lot of players last year at different tournaments.
"We needed to focus on players that we can work with but we didn’t have a training camp.”