"sa can win-medal" - 2019 mvp pretorius
Netball stars around the world are wrapping up their final preparations ahead of the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023, which gets under way next month in Cape Town.
One player who is relishing the prospect of performing in front of a home crowd if selected for South Africa is Karla Pretorius – the world-renowned defender who claimed the Most Valuable Player accolade at the last Netball World Cup, Liverpool 2019.
Since then she has given birth to her first child, a daughter Kara, and made a return to the court for her first season back with the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball league.
“I’ve really valued the time that I had away from netball and coming back I was really excited and looking forward to the challenge, but also just playing again,” she said of her return to the court.
“Up to now, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing again, which is a good sign that one should continue doing it.”
Pretorius looks back with pride on the last Netball World Cup in 2019 when the Proteas enjoyed an impressive run to the semi-finals, where they very narrowly lost out on a place in the final to Australia.
“It was a great honour being named player of the tournament.
“Obviously you go out and just focus on the processes as you want to be the best you can be for your team,” said the 33-year-old.
“I know back then it was just doing the work and doing what I could control and then when you get awards like that it’s really just special.
“It is obviously a great honour to have received it, knowing I’m South African and knowing that I’m representing so much more than myself,” added Pretorius, who explained the secret behind her success.
“I think what makes a good defender is someone who can adapt to whatever is presented. Knowing that netball is a very attacking game, you need to react to what the attackers give you, so it’s adapting but also dictating, if I can say it like that – adapting in order to counter them.”
While Pretorius is looking forward to hopefully being given the chance to perform in front of family and friends, she’s also been telling her Aussie teammates what they can expect from a first Netball World Cup to ever be held on African soil.
“Some of the things I’ve been telling my Australian teammates is just that it’s going to be very different to what they’ve experienced in other countries.
“I think in South Africa we have that diverse feeling of different cultures and it’s going to be very loud. It’s definitely going to be something that they haven’t experienced before,” she said.
Pretorius is also thrilled with what a home Netball World Cup can do for the sport in South Africa.
“I think it’s great for women in sport that South Africa is hosting the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023. If you look at the Cricket World Cup that took place earlier this year, I think it just shows how much it means for women in sport.
“And this time around it’s going to be the same and then taking it even further for the game of netball. It’s good to just get the awareness out there and bring a lot of hope to women in sport, also allowing the opportunity for it to grow even further.”
As for what the Proteas can achieve at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023, Pretorius’s response was short and to the point: “I definitely think we can end up on the podium.”
The Proteas will begin their campaign on 28 July against Wales before also facing Sri Lanka and Jamaica in the first preliminary stage. The World Cup 2023 runs from 28 July to 6 August at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.