We’re nearing the start of the Netball World Cup, being held in Cape Town from the 28th of July to the 6th of August. And the Proteas are ready to go, preparing hard to take on the best in the world.
As the event nears, PUMA have signed on two new players, Refiloe Nketsa and Elmeré van der Berg as part of its commitment to supporting and empowering women in sport. Van der Berg and Nketsa join their fellow SPAR Proteas teammates Bongi Msomi, Khanyisa Chawane and Shadine van der Merwe in the ever-growing PUMA performance family. Here’s how the team are preparing for the World Cup.
Meet the players
Position: Wing Defence and Centre
Elmeré van der Berg
Position: Goal Attack and Goal Shooter
Shadine van der Merwe
Position: Goal Defence and Wing Defence
Position: Centre and Wing Defence
World Cup dreams
Having the World Cup take place at home has a special meaning to players. It’s the first time the Cup is being held on the African continent. “It’s always an absolute honour to represent my country anywhere,” says van der Merwe. “But what makes this so special is being able to represent my family and friends and to be proud of what I have achieved.”
Nketsa echoes this view. “It is the first ever Netball World Cup to be hosted on African soil and having a home-ground advantage is honestly an honour,” she says. “We will get to share our journeys with so many people on a worldwide stage and how lucky can one be than doing that at home.”
The keys to success
For van der Merwe, a strong team makes for a winning spirit. “We come from various backgrounds and cultures, and we have so much respect for each other,” she says. “On court, we know how to fight till the end.” Chawane agrees. “There are so many expectations from the outside world but what we need to do is stick together and be fearless stepping on the court for us to reach our goal,” she says.
As the World Cup nears, players are finding focus in different places. Nketsa has found her focus by looking inward. “I go through my succession plan and track my progress to perform to the best of my abilities,” she says.
“Being selected to the NWC team has been a lifelong dream for me,” says van der Berg. “I stay focused because I need to be my best, not only for myself, but for my team and country. We have a goal and everyone must be on form to accomplish that goal.”
Centre player Chawane relies on the present to stay focussed. “I tell myself that what I do now counts for what lies ahead,” she says. “So not focusing on the future but making sure I give my very best at each task now because later I will reap the rewards.”
Partnering with PUMA
The new netball kit, made by PUMA, is colourful and stunning. “It’s amazing,” says Chawane. “I love that compared to many countries we play against; we always look the best.” Van der Merwe agrees. “The kit is colourful and shows both diversity and unity. It suits my personality,” she says.