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14 September 2018 | in World University Championships, Netball

Reigning champs confident ahead of WUC Netball

South Africa is preparing to defend their Netball title at the WUC in Kampala, Uganda

KAMPALA – Reigning World University Netball champions South Africa are in confident mood ahead of the 2018 edition, which is just days away from kicking off in Uganda.


Uganda’s capital city Kampala will host the third World University Netball Championships, becoming the second African city to host the event after Cape Town hosted the inaugural tournament in 2012.


Thereafter the competition moved to Miami in the USA in 2016, where Team South Africa edged Jamaica 43-29 in a closely-fought final to claim the gold medal.


And the South Africans are eager and confident that the winner’s trophy will remain in their cabinet.


“I am completely confident!” says University Sports South Africa Chairperson and Head of Delegation Riana Bezuidenhout. “We have selected experienced coaches, the team has performed well together and they have great respect for each other and the game of netball. 


“This is an extremely excitable and talented group of players who can without any smidgeon of doubt come back victorious.  They are hungry to lift the trophy and I trust and support them wholeheartedly.”


The 12-women strong squad was selected from 54 athletes who attended the final phase of trials in the city of Bloemfontein earlier this year, with 22 players initially selected, following which seven student athletes joined the senior national team for their tour of Australia, which takes place concurrently with the University Championships.


The majority of players have been active for their respective universities in the ongoing 2018 Varsity Netball championships – South Africa’s premier university netball tournament – and gathered for the first time on Thursday for a two-day camp ahead of their flight to Uganda.


South Africa has been drawn in Pool B alongside Sri Lanka and neighbouring countries Namibia and Zimbabwe, with Bezuidenhout insisting that every opponent will be respected.


“We strive to show respect towards our opponents consistently by bringing our best game at all times,” she says, before emphasising the team’s motto. “The bigger the dream, the more important the team.”


Bezuidenhout admits there is a little added pressure on the South Africans as defending champions, yet feels the ladies will be able to handle that and emerge victorious.


“There is always pressure to achieve; winning is a culture and a passion,” she says. “We are in this to defend and keep our title.”


Pool A is made up of Kenya, Singapore, USA and hosts Uganda, with all fixtures taking place at the Makerere University between 17-21 September.