Another SA-England duel on cards

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Sinikiwe Marodza

Harare - As South Africa is still basking in glory following victory against England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup a few weeks ago, another battle between the two countries is set and this time it is a ladies battle in which South Africa’s Spar Proteas will be battling it out against the Vitality Roses of England in a netball international challenge test series scheduled for between November 29 and December 1 in Cape Town.

The three tests series will be played at the Bellville Velodrome Stadium and will see Zimbabwe’s Young Gems curtain raising against South Africa’s Baby Proteas.

The international challenge test series comes at a time South Africa’s Spar Proteas have won the hearts of many in their rainbow nation after a stunning performance at the recent Netball World Cup, where they won bronze.

South Africa’s Proteas and the Vitality Roses of England are both among the best netball teams in the world, with South Africa sitting ranked fifth, while England is rated the third best in the world, hence making the international challenge test series an interesting battle.

According to history, the Proteas and the Roses have met 58 times in all, with England winning 44 tests and South Africa 14.

However, in the last six matches between the two teams, England have won four and South Africa have won two.

Zimbabwe was invited by South Africa on condition that South Africa caters for Zimbabwe’s accommodation and travel expenses.

Ropafadzo Mutsauki, Zimbabwe’s Under 20 netball team coach, said he was excited to showcase the Zimbabwean talent at such a big stage that features England, a team which is considered one of the world’s best in netball.

He also indicated that Zimbabwe was taking the series as a very serious event, and they intended to take advantage of it as they build a strong squad for Zimbabwe’s future assignments.

“South Africa could have invited any club but they chose us, and that alone is an honour for Zimbabwe to be presented with such a great opportunity.

“We are taking this game very seriously. It can be just a curtain raising game but what we understand is that South Africa acknowledges that Zimbabwe is one of the best teams in Southern Africa and they expect a competitive game from us. So we will use the opportunity.

“In terms of team selection, we are at an advantage since we have a team that played at the region 5 games and won bronze. Everyone in that team is still eligible to play,” Mutsauki said.

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