INF World Ranking - 5
Nickname - Proteas
Capital city - Cape Town
Population - 55M
Best Commonwealth Games Finish - 4th (1998)
Ever presents at the netball event in the Commonwealth Games, South Africa, will be looking to get on the podium for the first time in their history. The Proteas narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the 1998 Games, losing 56-54 to England.
The last couple of campaigns have not been those that replicate the performance in 1998. During the last two Games, the Proteas have finished 6th, the most recent following a defeat against Malawi in the 5th placed classification match. In 2006 the Proteas beat Wales to finish 7th, which was their lowest finish at a Games to date.
However, South Africa have been putting in some impressive performances as of late. In the recent Quad Series, South Africa put in their best performance to date against World Champions Australia, narrowly losing by four goals. The Proteas impressed against England and New Zealand too, losing both closely contested games only by five goals.
The same twelve who competed at the Quad Series has been selected for the Games. Within that squad there are some players with prior Commonwealth Games experience. Bongiwe Msomi, Erin Burger, Maryka Holtzhausen, Zanele Vimbela and Lenize Potgieter were all at Glasgow 2014. Potgieter was South Africa’s top goal scorer with 132 goals in Glasgow.
South Africa have one of the most experienced coaches around in Norma Plummer. Norma has been on the podium before at a Games when she led the Australian Diamonds to two silver medals in 2006 and in 2010.
Match Schedule – Preliminary Round
The Proteas begin their campaign against Jamaica, who sit just above South Africa in the INF World Rankings at number four. Both sides have been ever present in the netball at the Games but this will only be their second ever meeting at the event. Their first and only match at the Games came in Manchester 2002 where Jamaica were 66-55 victors.
They then play Northern Ireland, who are also in great form coming into these Games. South Africa finished just ahead of Northern Ireland in Glasgow 2014 in sixth position but both sides never played each other, making this the first ever meeting between the two sides at a Commonwealth Games.
Next up will be the World Champions and hosts Australia. As mentioned, their last outing against Australia was their best ever performance against the Diamonds. Former Aussie Diamond World Cup Winner, Norma Plummer, will lead the Proteas against her former side.
Two days later the Proteas face the Fiji Pearls. These sides last met in a two match test series that took place in September of last year and have met twice at the Games. In Melbourne 2006, the Proteas were victorious in a close game, taking the victory by five points, 56-51. In Manchester 2002, the Proteas were successful again in another close encounter, on that occasion winning by ten, 52-42.
Finally, South Africa will play Barbados. This will be the fourth time these sides will meet at the Games. South Africa have a very good record against Barbados at the Games having won all three previous encounters. In Glasgow 2014, the Proteas were 57-36 winners.
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