Durban, South Africa – The city of eThekwini has rolled out the red carpet for the world’s best netball players, who will be taking part in the third leg of the SANZEA Quad Series, featuring Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.

Welcoming the players at a function in the Durban International Convention Centre, Councillor Mxolisi Mzimbovu said the Quad Series was good for the city, and good for netball.

“We have top of the range infra-structure here, and Durban is the warmest city in South Africa,” he said.

“The eThekwini Metropolitan Council supports netball at community level, and we are delighted to welcome the best netballers in the world to our beautiful city. I am sure that seeing these players in action will inspire the young players in Durban to great heights.”

Netball South Africa (NSA) President Mimi Mthethwa said it was a dream come true to welcome the top three teams in the world.

“Our drawcard is the opening match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Saturday afternoon. These two teams have dominated world netball for many years, and the rivalry is intense. I hope people will turn out in their numbers to watch this mouth-watering match and then stay on to see the SPAR Proteas in action against the England Roses,” said Mthethwa.

“This is just the beginning. Perhaps one day we will be in the top three.”

England coach Tracey Neville said she and her team had been overwhelmed by the hospitality in Durban.

“We are loving our time here, and we are making the most of our time in this lovely city. I am sorry that I can’t promise the same weather when the Quad Series moves to England next month,” she said.

“The welcome we received at King Shaka Airport was amazing, and moved us to tears of joy,” said Australian coach Lisa Alexander.

“We are excited to be here, and we look forward to the match against the Silver Ferns on Saturday, and to playing the SPAR Proteas on Tuesday.”

Proteas captain Bongi Msomi said she was thrilled to be playing the best teams in the world at home.

“It is a privilege to play these teams, and just watch us on court. You will see how happy we are by the way we play.”