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Wium’s girls backing Bafana

The SPAR South African netball team leave for New Zealand on Thursday, the day before the start of the Fifa World Cup on Friday, but the players’ thoughts are definitely with their soccer counterparts.

“We’re so proud of what Bafana Bafana have achieved, and how they have been playing recently,” says team captain Liezel Wium.

“They have done so well and have clawed┬átheir way back.┬áWe really believe in them, and are confident that they can go through to the second round — and then who knows what can happen,” she said.

“We have been enjoying the build up to the World Cup, and we’re really sorry we won’t be here for most of it, but we are sure that Bafana will still be involved when we get back on June 28.ÔÇØMeanwhile, we will be following the World Cup, even if it means watching highlights packages.”

The Proteas will be┬átravelling┬áto Auckland on Thursday as part of their preparations for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.┬á While in Auckland, they will play a number of matches, including a match against the Mystics, one of the teams from the very competitive Australia-New Zealand league. “This tour is very important, because we haven’t travelled abroad since we went to Jamaica in 2008,” said Wium.

“Some of the girls have never been out of South Africa, and this will give them a chance to learn about playing in different conditions.┬á It is also something of a team building exercise, as we all learn to adapt to a different environment. “We will also have some coaching from a former New Zealand coach, Yvonne Willering, who will be working on our defensive tactics,” said Wium.

From New Zealand, the Proteas will travel to Samoa for a two-Test series. Samoa are currently ranked eight in the world, two places behind South Africa.