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Commonwealth Games: SA netballers share their thoughts

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Netball is one of the team sports where Team South Africa will have representation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia next month.

Other team sports will be badminton, bowls, cycling, hockey, rugby sevens and triathlon.

Team SA and Netball SA tracked down six of their best players to get their thoughts on South Africa’s chances and the Commonwealth Games in general.

Here’s what they had to say:

LENIZE POTGIETER – GOAL SHOOTER

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘Well, not one group is easy, but I’m happy with our fixtures and the teams we’ve got. We’re going to have to fight every single match but I’m confident we’ll pull it through and hopefully improve our rankings.’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘I’ve learned so much since the previous Commonwealth Games. I went to the UK and then NZ to play in their netball leagues, as well as being coached by one of the best coaches in the world. What more can I ask for?’

What I’m looking forward to most?
‘I love Commonwealth Games! Just the vibe and the atmosphere of the village gets me excited, and then, of course, getting on the court to represent my country. That’s always a winner. I’m mostly looking forward to see how we go and if we can improve on our rankings, that’s what we’ve all been working for.’

What it means to represent #teamMzansi?
‘It’s an honour to represent #teamMzansi. There’s no better feeling than putting on the green and gold singing that national anthem in front of thousands of people. ‘

Message to the fans
‘Thank you for the ongoing support, love and messages we’ve been receiving. You’ll never know how much it really means to us to know you’ve got our backs back home. Keep on rocking! ‘

KARLA PRETORIUS – GOAL DEFENCE (VICE-CAPTAIN)

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘We start off with Jamaica, world No4! So from the “get-go”, we will need to bring our best game. Not one of the games is going to be easy and we know if we want to crack the top four, we need to end top two of our pool!’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘2014 was an amazing experience and having that one Commonwealth Games under the belt, you kind of know what Commonwealth Games are about, and that it’s an amazing experience. Back-to-back games, and quick turnarounds between games. Good recovery, preparation and be in the moment because before you know it it will be over!’

Message to the fans:
‘The opening ceremony and 6 April (our official first game).’

What it means to represent #teamMzansi?
‘Great to represent my country. Always. And it will always be an honour to be part of TeamMzansi! Being part of a bigger team and not just netball but the whole of Team South Africa!’

MARYKA HOLTZHAUSEN – GOAL ATTACK

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘I’m very happy with the fixtures we have. Starting with a must-win game for us is great, especially having more than a week together to prepare beforehand.’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘The most important things I took from the 2014 Games is that every match is important, not taking anything for granted and giving it everything you’ve got all the time. In short: Embrace every moment. It’s an opportunity few people are lucky enough to come around twice.’

What I’m looking forward to most?
‘I’m looking forward to every aspect of the Games and sharing it with friends and teammates, but most of all I’m looking forward to play alongside the best players, working towards our goals.’

What it means to represent #teamMzansi?
‘Representing my country is an absolute honour and privilege. It is something that is only possible through the grace of God.’

Message to the fans:
‘Keep on supporting Team SA! Through all the highs and the possible lows. You are the people we are going to make proud to be South African. Thank you for being our fans!’

PRECIOUS MTHEMBU – WING DEFENCE

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘The GC2018 netball fixtures are well balanced for all pools. We cannot under-estimate the teams that are placed with us. They will put up a good fight. [The] opening match for us is Jamaica which will lift the level of what is expected of us for the rest of the pool games.’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘To represent TeamMzansi means I’ll be participating for all the South Africans who will be supporting us. It also means we must lift the South African flag high by applying good sportsmanship at all times. ‘

Message to the fans:
‘Thank you for all the endless support, knowing you are fully behind us will give us the courage and we are determined to make all of you proud.’

ZANELE VIMBELA – GOALKEEPER/GOAL DEFENCE

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘It’s obviously going to be a tight competition seeing that we’ve got daily matches, so we’ll need to be prepared for every game in a short period of time. It’s also interesting to see who we are up against. Regardless of that, we will need to perform really well to be able to get into the top two spots for semis.’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘I’ve learnt a lot between the two Games and we’ve only been improving so I hope we will have a more successful Commonwealth Games this year.’

What I’m looking forward to most?
‘Just to play the game and represent Team SA on one of the most important platforms in sports.’

What it means to represent #teamMzansi?
‘It’s very much an honour to represent TeamMzansi knowing the work and effort put in is really important for this kind of preparation. That’s when you know you will do your country proud.’

Message to the fans:
‘I also just want to say that those aspiring to become elite athletes to just stay determined and focused, and those in support of TeamSA, thank you and we’ll do everyone proud! ‘

SHADINE VAN DER MERWE – WING DEFENCE/GOAL DEFENCE

What do you think of the fixtures?
‘Going into the CG2018 fixtures we would have had to compete against the top four ranking at this stage. Because we’re ranked fifth we would have had to face two of the top teams in any pool, but we’re capable of competing at the highest level so we’ll have to step up and in facing Jamaica first we have to beat them to make it to the semis. So I’m looking forward to playing a lot of pool games and also giving a lot of players the opportunity to take [the] court.’

Any lessons learnt from 2014?
‘It’s now four years later and netball in SA has grown so much! So I’ve had a lot of international experience [most of the players have] and the input of the coaches has made a big difference ‘

What I’m looking forward to most?
‘Always an honour and wearing the green and gold is always just amazing – going out there knowing you’re part [of it] not just as a team but a whole family going together representing TeamMzansi.’

Message to the fans:
‘Set your alarms and watch this space! We’ll give our best and thank you for always backing us!’


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