Phumza Maweni and goal shooter Nichole Taljaard’s dreams came true when they were selected to be part of the 15-member final Proteas 2023 World Netball Cup squad.
While Maweni has the experience of playing at a World Cup tournament, Taljaard hopes to make her first World Cup appearance when Cape Towns stages the first Netball World Cup on the African continent.
Maweni’s illustrious netball career which comprises stints in top netball leagues in both England and Australia, has changed her life and this year’s netball World Cup showpiece might be her last.
Cape Town-born Taljaard is one of seven players selected in the Proteas final squad who will be making their World Cup debut at this year’s tournament.
Taljaard’s interest in the sport was sparked when she went with her family to watch her sister play. The 25-year-old started playing the sport when she was only five years old.
She says, “Someone didn’t show up for the tournament that they were playing and I stuck my hand up, and said I am here. I will help where I can, from there my love for netball just carried on.”
However for her teammate, Maweni, also from Cape Town, the bug bit a lot later. The Khayelitsha resident was 29 when she was introduced to the sport.
“I started playing netball, I watched a friend at school when they were playing a friendly and I asked if I can join the session then I enjoyed it.”
The two reminisce about their first call-ups to the national team and what it meant.
Maweni says, “I was so shocked, I started netball late so I didn’t expect any call-up for the national team and at that time I was already 29 years old. So it was a highlight for me.”
Taljaard says, “I’ve only been part of the netball team for over a year now, I was just so amazed to be named as part of the squad it was a dream since I was literally young.”
While the two played for the Western Cape’s Southern Stings, Maweni has also had an illustrious international career which saw her play in Australia for three seasons from 2019.
The 38-year-old then moved to England in December of 2021 where she featured for Bath in the Super League.
“It changed completely, I really enjoyed my time over there, I’ve upskilled myself that’s why I’ve gained the confidence to come back and want to give back to the community.”
The Proteas will start their campaign with a Pool C match against Wales on July 28.
VIDEO: Review of South Africa’s World Cup Netball squad:
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com
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