Johannesburg - The president of Netball SA is working on making it more attractive for local players who are based overseas to play at home.
“At the moment, our top players have to go to Australia, England or New Zealand to earn more money,” Cecilia Molokwane said.
“We want to make it possible for them to stay here and focus on their netball.”
Molokwane was speaking after the Quad Series final, which was played in front of a packed house at Ellis Park Arena this week. The Australian Diamonds emerged as champions for the third time since the series started in 2016.
Australia beat New Zealand’s Silver Ferns 67-48. The England Roses finished second.
The Proteas once more finished at the bottom of the table after going down 52-47 to the Roses.
The University of Limpopo graduate said some of the overseas players she had spoken to were not happy about being abroad, but a lack of financial support in South Africa had forced them to go.
“They don’t like it there. You look at Karla Pretorius, who is now married and would like to be with her family,” she said.
Molokwane was elected in October. She said her two main goals were to see the Proteas improve their world ranking and to make netball popular at grassroots level.
She hoped that would help identify talented players who would follow in the footsteps of national team players such as captain Bongi Msomi and goal attacker Maryka Holtzhausen.
“We need to make sure we find another Bongi or Maryka, so we will be going out to all areas to see if we can unearth hidden talent.”
She said the national squad would be expanded to 30 players from the current 18. She confirmed that Proteas coach Norma Plummer had been contracted until the World Cup in Liverpool next year and would be assisted by fellow Australian Nicole Cusack.
She said it was decided that the national championships would no longer be on a provincial basis, but would go back to being a competition between districts.
She believed this would make it more competitive and allow more players to enter. Teams would be divided into A and B sections, with the possibility of a C section.
The Proteas will compete in the Commonwealth Games from April 4 to 15.
The SA Spar Championships will be held in Pretoria this year.
The Quad Series will most likely be played in August/September, just like last year, but this has not been confirmed yet.
“We are still going to negotiate with Australia, New Zealand and England to see if we are on board for later this year with them, but we would like to be part of the Quad Series,” she said.