World Cup-winning coach to assist Proteas

2015-06-18 06:00
 Photo: Reg CaldecottCaptains of national teams taking part in the Diamond Challenge (from left) Beauty Nakazwe (Zambia), Maryka Holzhausen (SA), Caroline Mtukule (Malawi) and Peace Proscova (Uganda).

Photo: Reg CaldecottCaptains of national teams taking part in the Diamond Challenge (from left) Beauty Nakazwe (Zambia), Maryka Holzhausen (SA), Caroline Mtukule (Malawi) and Peace Proscova (Uganda).

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NETBALL World Cup-winning Australian coach Norma Plummer has joined the Spar Proteas as consulting coach ahead of the Diamond Challenge, which begins at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on Tuesday.

The South African national netball team will play against Zambia, Malawi and Uganda in the four-day tournament.

Netball South Africa president Mimi Mthethwa made the announcement at a media briefing on Monday. She said Plummer would assess the progress made by the national players and determine whether they were going in the right direction.

Plummer worked with the Proteas in February and will work again with the current coaching panel, led by Bennie Saayman.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Proteas again,” said Plummer. “I retired from coaching fulltime after the World Cup in 2011, but since then I’ve realised that I can serve as a mentor coach. I can come in for a couple of weeks, wherever I’m needed.”

Plummer praised the concept of the Diamond Challenge, in which South Africa will play African countries taking part in the Netball World Cup in Sydney in August.

“Australia and New Zealand play each other all the time and they also have a very strong league, which means they constantly compete at a high level. There is a huge pool of talent in Africa, and what they need is exposure to international netball.

They need more competitions like this, but the Diamond Challenge will help them all prepare for the World Cup,” said Plummer.

Saayman said she was pleased to be able to work with Plummer, who had coached at the highest level.

“She brings a different approach and we can only benefit from her presence. Our training is going well, and we have had opportunities to study the other three teams. We know what to expect from them and we know what we have to do.”

Mthethwa said she was happy to extend a hand of friendship to South Africa’s African sisters, ahead of the World Cup.

“The Diamond Challenge is a symbol of the unification of African netball,” she said.

“We welcome our sisters to our country, and we all say no to xenophobia.”

Entry to all matches is free.

Diamond Challenge fixtures:

Tuesday 16 June:

18:00 South Africa vs Zambia

19:45 Malawi vs Uganda

Wednesday 17 June:

18:00 South Africa vs Malawi

19:45 Zambia vs Uganda

Thursday 18 June:

18:00 Malawi vs Zambia

19:45 South Africa vs Uganda

Friday 19 June:

18:00 – Finals: Log 3rd Position vs Log 4th Position

19:45 – Finals: Log 1st Position vs Log 2nd Position. - Supplied

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