THE moment of truth has finally arrived for South Africa’s netball golden generation of the Proteas.
There is an air of optimism as the netball Proteas gear up for their opening International Netball Federation (INF) World Cup opening match against Trinidad and Tobago in Liverpool, England tonight at 6.15pm (SA time).
Norma Plummer’s team enter this big netball stage high in confidence.
Skipper Bongiwe Msomi and her teammates cruised into two comfortable Test Series wins against Wales in Cardiff last week.
The Proteas registered 84-32 and 79-44 emphatic victories during their warm-up matches.
The 1995 World Cup finalists have been drawn in Group C with Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Fiji in the preliminary rounds.
The Proteas arrived in Liverpool on Sunday after setting up their base camp in Cardiff. Defending champions Australia, are the most successful team in the history of the tournament with a record 11 wins followed by New Zealand with four titles and Trinidad and Tobago with one title.
The Proteas, host nation England and Jamaica, are still searching for their maiden World Cup title.
The Proteas were given a glittering send-off in Tshwane and they have been promised R1 million for winning the tournament, R700 000 for being runner-up and R500 000 for being bronze medallists.
Newly appointed Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, flew to the United Kingdom on Wednesday to support the Proteas.
The Proteas will pin their hopes of securing a podium place on goal attack Msomi, centre Erin Burger, wing attack Izette Griesel, goal defence Zanele Vimbela and goal shooter Lenize Potgieter to mention a few of their 12-member World Cup squad.
Coach Plummer has won the World Cup title as a player and a coach with Australia. Plummer said the Proteas are not going to the World Cup to make up the numbers. Plummer said: “The team is ready. We’ve had good preparations and expect positive results.”
Msomi said the players can’t wait to get on court and fly Mzansi’s flag high. She said: “We are excited about the World Cup and can’t wait to get started we are confident of doing well.”