CAPE TOWN – Following the conclusion of the 2023 Netball Series between England and South Africa on Sunday, where England won the series 2-1, SPAR Proteas coach Norma Plummer confirmed that she has played her last song as an international netball head coach, and this was undoubtedly her final dance.
Plummer returned to South Africa for her second stint, coaching the team initially from 2015 to 2019. During her first tenure, she assisted the team in improving their world ranking from 7th to 5th by the time she left.
She also guided the team to their best finish at the 2019 Netball World Cup, where they secured a 4th-place finish.
During her first stint, she worked closely with South African coaches, primarily mentoring them with the ultimate goal of them succeeding her, which indeed happened when she left in 2019.
She returned in 2023 as a mentor and advisor when the team went to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.
After the team’s return from the Commonwealth Games, Norma Plummer was appointed as the interim coach of the SPAR Proteas from October 2022 right through to the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, where the team finished 6th.
“I have had the privilege of working with the best bunch of players in this South African team,” said Plummer.
“It is unfortunate we did not win the series, but I can assure you that we have built something here and I can only hope that the team grows from here. I’d like to wish the team well and thank them for a great second stint.
“The time is now for Netball South Africa and netball in South Africa to grow.”
The coach stayed on post the Netball World Cup and guided the team over two outgoing two test matches in Australia and England, respectively, with England being her last official one.
“Norma Plummer has been a great asset to the federation, the team, and individual players. She came in at a time when we needed a great coach, and she became exactly that,” said Cecilia Molokwane, Netball South Africa President.
“During her two terms as a head coach, she really did wonders for the SPAR Proteas. She has inspired all of us to do better and have a winning culture.
“We will carry her teachings forever; we will apply them every single time we prepare for any tournament. She has really made all of us believe that we can compete with the best in the world simply because we too are the best.”
Netball South Africa is currently in the process of appointing a new head coach for the SPAR Proteas, who is expected to assume office in January 2024. An announcement will soon be made once a suitable candidate has been identified and appointed.
Molokwane added: “There is no way we can speak about Norma and not mention Nicole Cusack. These two have been joined by the hip. We cannot downplay Nicole’s role in the team – she has helped with sharpening our shooters and today, we have some of the best all thanks to her guidance.”
“I really count myself one of the lucky ones who have the pleasure of being coached by Norma Plummer. When we were informed about her coming to coach us, I could not believe it. Working with her has really exceeded all my expectations. I think we have had it very good,” said SPAR Proteas Vice Captain Karla Pretorius.
Captain Bongiwe Msomi said “when Norma came in here, she really changed a lot – she made us to believe that we can compete and not only participate at tournaments – we can actually win. Winning became the culture within the team. I don’t think I can speak about her and not be emotional. She has really done a lot for us as players (‘individually) as a collectively as team. I have learnt a lot from her that I practice daily in my own life journey.”