After nearly a year of inactivity forced by the global pandemic, international netball is back in South Africa as the Proteas take on Malawi.
The Proteas swing into action for the first time since their Netball Nation's Cup third-place playoff loss to England in January.
South Africa take on their long-time African rivals, the Malawi Queens in three Challenge Test matches, which will be held behind-closed-doors at the Superbowl in Sun City.
Netball South Africa (NSA) President Cecilia Molokwane welcomed Malawi and stated that their visit was an important step to the 2023 Netball World Cup, which will be held in Cape Town.
"We want to develop African netball and we look forward to an all-African final in 2023," said Molokwane.
The two sides have met on 33 occasions and the Proteas winning 20 times, losing 12 times and drawing once.
Proteas head coach Dorette Badenhorst confirmed that the Proteas will be without their vice-captain Karla Pretorius and Zan Vimbela, who are both injured.
"We want to do well, it's not going to be easy but if we go on the court with some fire then I think we can do well," said Badenhorst.
"I'm excited to try a few combinations, I think it's important to look at the depth in the country and give some new players the opportunity to get on court."
Proteas captain Bongi Msomi said her side are excited to get to back to playing international netball again.
"We have some young uncapped players who are coming in to the team and this is the perfect opportunity for us to see what they can do," said Msomi.
"The mood in the camp is great - we are all very excited to be playing against one of the top teams in Africa and the world."
Malawi coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said South Africa could expect a very tough match against the 6th-ranked side.
"We are trying to grow from where we were at the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. We think there should be an African champion in 2023, and Malawi are trying to do this," said Chawinga-Kaluwa.
Chawinga-Kaluwa confirmed that two of Malawi's star players, Mwai Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula have not travelled to Sun City.
Kumwenda is taking a break in Australia after her team the Melbourne Vixens won the Super Netball League whilst Mvula has international club commitments.
Badenhorst admitted that her side would never underestimate the strength of any African team.
"Playing an African nation is really difficult. I know that they play a different style...There's no definite patterns when they play so you'll analyse a player rather than a team," said Badenhorst.
"We will be prepared for Malawi... We know we have to be really sharp to turn the ball against them."
Proteas 15-player squad:
Sigrid Burger, Khanyisa Chawane, Izette Griesel, Rome Joubert, Kamogelo Maseko, Phumza Maweni, Tshina Mdau, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, Bongiwe Msomi (captain), Lenize Potgieter, Lefebre Rademan, Monique Reyneke, Nicola Smith, Shadine vd Merwe, Ine-Mari Venter
South Africa v Malawi fixtures:
Thursday, 26 November - 1st Test at 19:00
Friday, 27 November - 2nd Test at 19:00
Sunday, 29 November - 3rd Test at 13:00
- Compiled by Sport24 staff