The Proteas Women gathered in Pretoria on Monday for a national camp at the Centre of Excellence which will end on 16 September.
This is the first time the side have come together since their impressive ICC Women’s World Cup campaign, where they reached the semis. The team will join the Women’s National Academy, who are already assembled at the Centre of Excellence for their six-week stint.
The only players to be excluded are those who featured in the Super League in England, namely: Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus and Mignon du Preez, but the full World Cup squad (including the above mentioned four and captain, Dané van Niekerk) will be present at the Season Launch to be held at the Headquarters in Centurion on Tuesday.
Team coach, Hilton Moreeng wants to use the camp as an opportunity to gauge where the players are physically and mentally after having been given extended time off at the end of the World Cup. He also wants to begin to plot the way forward for the group and begin the road to the 2021 tournament.
‘It’s been a period of well-deserved rest for the players,’ he said. ‘Many of them had been playing a lot of cricket building up to the World Cup and, aside from those who participated in the Super League directly after the World Cup, we wanted the players to get an extended break so that the bodies and the minds could recover for the season ahead.’
The coach believes that the World Cup has gone a long way in exposing the women’s game and the team to the South African public and hopes that the support garnered will grow from strength to strength.
‘The support from the people of South Africa during the World Cup was unprecedented and interest in the women’s game and the team specifically just from the tournament alone has grown exponentially. It was really good to see and we hope that this grows even further as the season begins,’ Moreeng continued.
‘While there’ll be a short break in international cricket for the team, we will have a bumper 2018 with lots of cricket against some of the biggest teams in the world and my hope is that our team will see a return in support from cricket fans when they are back in action.
‘Right now, I want us to use the learnings from the World Cup as a stepping stone towards something greater for the side. This camp will do well in showing us whether the players have taken on these lessons and will do well in showing the youngsters in the Academy how high the bar is set for the national team.’
Captain, Van Niekerk, who did not participate in the Super League due to a Grade 2 myotendinous tear (intra-muscular tear) on the front right thigh, is making good progress and is in the final stages of completing her rehabilitation program. Although not a part of this camp, she will be keeping a keen eye on the development of the team and hopes that they use every opportunity afforded them.
‘It’s been a tough few weeks, but I’m glad to be back in action and gyming again,’ she commented. ‘It’s always good to have the team together, be it for a camp or anything else. The girls are always excited to see one another and it always has that family reunion feeling to it. We’ve been chatting a lot as a team and everyone is eager to get their heads back into the Proteas’ space and start working towards the next World Cup.
‘We drew a lot of confidence and inspiration from this year’s tournament and with the amount of interest that is being given to the team, we can’t wait to get started in the new direction and build something that will make the people of South Africa proud again.’
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