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FAST5 is back! The FAST5 Netball World Series resumed last year in Christchurch, New Zealand, with the women’s teams from Australia and South Africa competing in the final. The South African women claimed silver, marking their best result in the competition to date.

Last year also marked the inclusion of the men’s teams from Australia, New Zealand, and England. New Zealand’s men took top honours by beating Australia in the final. This year will also mark the first time South Africa’s men’s FAST5 team competes in the series. The men will face their counterparts from Australia and New Zealand.

Netball New Zealand has been awarded the hosting rights through 2024, with Christchurch as the host city.

The South African men’s FAST5 team will be coached by Neville Chapepa (Head Coach) with Themba Ntuli (Assistant Coach). To kick things off, we sat down with Coach Neville and fired five questions his way.

This is the first time our SA FAST5 Men’s team will be competing at the FAST5 Netball World Series, what does that mean to you and the rest of the team to go and represent?
Means the world to us. Most of our boys got an opportunity of a lifetime. This will serve as a reference now and in the history books of netball. Calls for high standard performance in global area in the eyes of the world. Everyone is looking at us as under dogs. We need to showcase our talent here.

What are you all looking forward to for the series?
We expecting challenging games from start to finish. We expecting our boys young as they are to lift to the standard of the seasoned international teams. We expect the boys to learn a lot within a short time and adjust their play accordingly. We expect them to put up excellent performance and compete at that level.

Men’s traditional netball in general is quite fast and skilled already, do you anticipate an even faster game with FAST5?
The selection of the players per team dictates how the team is going to play. The number of players on court calls for strength, skills to pass long balls which calls for fast games. Yes, we agree that the games maybe generally fast but some teams will definitely try and slow it down depending technical and tactical application from coaches. So we expecting a mixed bag of techniques.

What options does this version of the game give you that excites you and what attributes does a FAST5 netballer need to have to be successful?
Within our squad we have players that can employ their expertise at the back some in attack that can shoot from three ranges. We want to see how the world is going to respond to what we have. Agility. Flexibility. Strength. Accuracy in shooting, passing decision making, directing, assisting, assertive and intelligence. The player must be able to play more than three positions on court at very high standards as rotation could be high.

Do you have a specific match strategy you’ll be looking at incorporating?
Yes we do, we will have one tall shooter within the goal circle getting rebounds, the ones and two’s during the game. In some cases we will need the three goal shooter in the circle to run out while he comes for rebounds and pass outs for retakes or replay while we readjust positions. Circle position will recycled more often as we don’t have natural centres.

South Africa’s FAST5 Men’s Squad:
Shane Labuschagne, Riyazz Lavendal, William Lethoko, Itumeleng Mohanoe, Njabulo Nekhavhambe, Vukile Zulu, Zakhele Msimango, Athenkosi Pieterse, Kabelo Mahalane and Nico Pieters
Non-Traveling: Kgontsi Mabusela

Neville Chapepa (Head Coach)
Themba Ntuli (Assistant Coach)
Olian Thobejane (Team Manager)
Matome Seroto (Physiotherapist)

The FAST5 Netball World Series will be broadcast 11-12 November 2023 LIVE on SuperSport Variety 4 (Channel 209) from 01:15 on 11 November and 00:45 12 November. All times CAT.

*South Africa’s Women’s and Men’s FAST5 matches

11-Nov-2023 England vs South Africa 03:00 CAT
11-Nov-2023 Men: Australia vs South Africa 03:45 CAT
11-Nov-2023 South Africa vs Australia 05:15 CAT
11-Nov-2023 South Africa vs Jamaica 07:45 CAT
12-Nov-2023 New Zealand vs South Africa 02:30 CAT
12-Nov-2023 Men: New Zealand vs South Africa 03:15 CAT
12-Nov-2023 Malawi vs South Africa 05:30 CAT
12-Nov-2023 Men Final 06:30 CAT
12-Nov-2023 5th/6th Place Play-off 07:20 CAT
12-Nov-2023 3rd/4th Place Play-off 08:10 CAT
12-Nov-2023 Final 09:00 CAT

*Schedule subject to change at short notice.

Some quick rules
Substitutions: FAST5 includes rolling substitutions, which means a change can be made at any stage of the game, during breaks or during play.

Power Play: The last 90 seconds of playing time in each quarter is designated as the ‘Power Play Period’ for both teams. During the ‘Power Play Period’ all goals scored a doubled.

Centre Passes: All centre passes will be taken by the team that did not score the last goal. The coin toss at the start of the game determine which team takes the first centre pass in each quarter. The coin toss winner: Chooses the centre pass in either the 1st and 3rd quarters or 2nd and 4th quarters. The coin toss loser: Takes the first centre pass in the quarters not chosen by the winning team.

Goal Scoring: There are three different scoring zones in FAST5. Inner circle (3,5m) for 1 point. Outer circle (3,5m-4,9m) for 2 points. Goal third for the Super Shot 3 points.

Timing: Four six-minute quarters with a four-minute interval at halftime and two-minute intervals after the first and third quarters.

The Team: In FAST5 there’s only five playing positions with two shooters (GS and GA), two defenders (GK and GD) and one midcourter (C).