Netball South Africa has congratulated fellow African teams Uganda and Zambia who will join the Spar Proteas and Malawi as Africa’s representatives at Netball World Cup Sydney 2015. Following rigorous qualifying events across the five regions – Europe, Oceania, America, Asia and Africa – the International Netball Federation (INF) confirmed this week that the 16 nations who will compete at the Netball World Cup Sydney 2015. The top six nations automatically qualified when the INF World Rankings were confirmed in July.
These were Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa. As a result of the Regional Qualifiers, they will be joined by Wales, Scotland, Fiji, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia. “We are very proud of our African sister federations Zambia and Uganda for making it to the World Cup. Netball on the continent continues to make giant strides forward and we are sure of putting in a good showing for Africa,” said Netball South Africa president Mimi Mthethwa. Mthethwa said her federation was providing Proteas coach Elize Kotze and her team every support to help assist them to put on a display worthy of capturing netball’s most prestigious prize, “I can assure you that we are not going to Sydney to make up the numbers. We are going there to compete for the World Cup and establish South Africa as one of the dominant players on the global stage. We have mass participation, elite players and a world class league. Winning the World Cup would but netball on the map and another step towards a fully professional netball circuit in South Africa.”
Kotze said she was very excited for Uganda and Zambia having made it to the World Cup, “Uganda and Zambia showed last year at the Africa Cup in Malawi, they are teams to be reckoned with in the future. The gap between scores against the top African countries decreased and they played with more confidence and consistency. For Africa to have four of the 16 teams participating at the 2015 World Cup is not only a great achievement for netball but also for all women in Africa. These women of Africa are unstoppable in fighting for their goals and dreams.” Zambia, who defeated higher ranked African nations, will be competing in only their second World Cup since the tournament began in 1963. In Europe, England is one of four nations (Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica) to have played in every World Cup.
Wales and Scotland also have a consistent record at the event, competing in 13 of the 14 editions of the tournament (missing the 1967 and 2011 Cups respectively). In Asia, Sri Lanka upset higher ranked nations to join Singapore as the two qualifying nations last month while Fiji, Samoa, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have been preparing for Sydney 2015 after qualifying earlier in the year in events in the Cook Islands (Oceania Region) and Canada (Americas Region).