Newly appointed South Africa’s Fast5 coach, Martha Mosoahle-Samm is confident that her squad will come back with the best possible results from this year’s Fast5 Netball World Series. The agile and energetic format of the games makes a return to the global stage as Christchurch, New Zealand readies to welcome the world from 5-7 November.
New Zealand will host the fast-paced tournament for the next three years.
Fast5 is different from traditional netball, with the shorter version of the sport having two fewer players, wing attack, and wing defence, it also has multiple point shots, double point power plays and shortened quarters. There is a powerplay, where teams can score double points in an allocated time. That means six points can be scored if the shot is from a certain range.
There are rolling subs and the match consists of four quarters of six minutes each.
The Free State Crinums coach will lead the SA Fast5 team to the 10th edition of the competition, Spar Proteas head coach, Dorette Badenhorst was the mentor of the side in the last edition. The team was also previously coached by Dr Elsjé Jordaan, Elize Kotzé, Lana Krige and Carin Strauss in the inaugural year of the competition in 2010. Former Proteas captain, Maryka Holtzhausen is the most experienced player in this format, having played in six editions.
“It’s amazing, it’s overwhelming but I think most importantly it’s really humbling to know that you can eventually plough back to what was done to you a few years ago. For me, it’s a humbling process. I feel really honoured.
Every appointment comes with pressure, especially if you are a high achiever so this is definitely a big responsibility for me. I know it’s not going to come easy, it’s going to take a lot of work and that is pressure on its own, we know the pressure of doing well, being in the top four in the world,” says Mosoahle-Samm.
Mosoahle-Samm understands the huge task ahead of her and her charges. In the last edition held in Melbourne in 2018, South Africa finished sixth, the last position on the log. SA’s best finish at the tournament was the third position and this was in the 2012 edition hosted in Auckland.
“The president made it clear to us that we shouldn’t go there just to participate but we should bring back a medal and I know she means it. She has encouraged us to select the best players and she gave us the opportunity to get the cream of the crop.
She asked us what players we want, and which players we are looking for and she went all out to make sure we get the calibre of the players we were looking for. So we definitely need to come back with a medal and she is not going to take anything less than a semifinal spot,” she says.
Mosoahle-Samm reckons the support the team receives from Netball SA president, Cecilia Molokwane will be important as the team prepares for the tournament.
“It’s always a blessing to have a president of such calibre. She’s been a player herself, she has been part of the selection (committee) and now being the president, she knows exactly how we feel as coaches. It’s always a bonus for her to come, she was there when we selected the final team. Her presence is enough and it’s enough to support for us to know that she has got our backs, she puts our needs as coaches first,” she says.
With Fast5 being faster than traditional netball, it requires players who can keep up with the pace of the game. Mosoahle-Samm says the selection camp was able to identify players who would be up for the challenge, some have already donned the green and gold for the Proteas in the traditional format.
The former Spar Proteas assistant coach realises that there is a lot of work that lies ahead before the tournament. The ongoing Varsity Netball will keep the players match fit before hitting the court at the Christchurch Arena.
“Fast5 is a very tricky game, it requires a lot of speed. So we were looking for players who are quick, players who can run the court. We were looking for players who could cover all those areas. We were looking for players who can adapt and adjust and we were looking for shooters who can give us the two-pointers and the three-pointers.
We are confident, we have players who can hit the three-pointers and the two-pointers. It’s a young team, it’s an inexperienced team but the team has what it takes. We got to see players that are talented, giving the opportunity to players who will be playing for the first time internationally, it’s a bonus for us. We definitely have a good team, we are confident that we are going to do well,” she says.
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