18 July 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Simon Wilkinson
Khanyisa Chawane
Khanyisa Chawane, a student at the University of the Free State, in action at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool where she featured in all five victories of the Proteas.

The three netballers from the University of the Free State (UFS) in the Protea netball team had a major hand in the team’s best showing in 24 years at a World Cup

With their fifth consecutive victory in Liverpool, the Proteas booked their spot in the semi-final on Wednesday night (17 July 2019).

It is the first time ever that South Africa reached the semi-final stage of the competition. However, they finished second and third in 1995 and 1967 respectively, but there wasn’t a semi-final stage on those occasions. The Proteas finished fifth or sixth in the previous five tournaments.

Khanyisa Chawane, a centre court player, along with Kovsie alumni Maryka Holtzhausen (goal attack) and Karla Pretorius (goal defence), were all in great form.

Chawane, who made her Protea debut less than a year ago, was earmarked to mostly be a reserve, but she has featured in all five matches thus far and got quite a lot of game time. In the victory over the world’s number two team, Jamaica, she played the final two quarters as wing defence in a high-pressure encounter, which the Proteas won by three goals.

Holtzhausen has a goal-success percentage of 80%, but it is her role as playmaker and by ensuring that she feeds her goal shooter, Lenize Potgieter, with the majority of shooting attempts close to the net, that impressed. Pretorius, who snatched two Player of the Match awards, pressurised opponents into mistakes on defence. Her 13 intercepts are the joint third most in the tournament.

The Proteas are one of only four unbeaten teams, with the final round of group matches taking place on Thursday (18 July 2019). They will face either Australia or New Zealand in the semi-final on Saturday 20 July.

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