By Tiyani Rikhotso
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
Netball is the number 1 women’s sport in South Africa. After the coverage received from the recent World Cup, it is taking the world by storm. Our Netball stars did an amazing job on the court, notably beating Fiji 90-35, Scotland 66-37 and Uganda 67-40. Another notable match was against the world’s leading 2nd team, Jamaica. The Proteas pushed through a high pressured match and after an even 44-44 with nine minutes to spare, managed to snatch a close 55-52 goal win. This was their first win against the ‘sunshine girls’ in 8 years.
Their stellar performance throughout the World Cup led to them making history for South African Netball as they secured a spot in the semi-finals.
Unfortunately, the semis against the reigning champions, Australia, saw the South Africans edged out by a close 55-53 loss. They held their ground during this match against the 11-time winners and though they lost their battle for bronze against England as well, they should be commended for the attitude that carried them through the matches. South Africa should also be proud as our player Karla Pretorius, who is known as ‘the best goal defence in the world’ was awarded player of the world cup.
The team has warmed the hearts of many South African’s and, together with their fellow World Cup players, have let the world know that Women’s netball is something that should be taken seriously. Their passion, performance and dedication was noticed by sponsors who pledged between R200 000 and R1 million should the team win bronze, silver or gold. Spar recognised their efforts in the World Cup and awarded the team a total of R1.2 Million for their amazing performance. This being a noticeable leap amid growing conversations on women’s pay in the sports world.
With the next World Cup on home soil in 2023, we have our hopes up for the Proteas. The City of Cape Town has commended the National team for their efforts in Liverpool and commits to doing their best in preparing to host the next netball world cup.