The Under-19 Cricket World Cup hasn't been a particularly happy hunting ground for South Africa in the past -- they lost to those irksome Nepalese in the plate final of the last edition in 2006. Looking back, it seems the only highlight for South Africa came when the side reached the final in 2002.
It was Nobel laureate Niels Bohr who once said: ''It is very difficult to make an accurate prediction, especially about the future.'' Nothing like a quantum mechanics expert to point out the obvious. And while sport may have been the furthest thing from the Danish physicist's mind when he said this, his words ring true when looking ahead to the biggest sporting event of 2008.
While there was disappointment all round with the sixth place at the Netball World Championships last week, there were those in South African netball circles who were breathing a quiet sigh of relief. Among them was national coach Burta de Kock.
South Africa's hopes of taking a step up in the netball world came to an abrupt end when they succumbed 82-23 to defending champions New Zealand in Thursday night's quarterfinal of the World Netball Championships in Auckland. They went into the quarterfinal clash with some hefty baggage.
If national coach Burta de Kock had been allowed four years to develop and nurture a squad, as Jake White was, it would be a different South African team taking to the court at the World Netball Championships in New Zealand this weekend. Not only would they have been more confident in their own abilities, but also in those of their teammates.
With all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Springboks on their return to South Africa, combined with the subsequent successes of both our football and cricket teams, it's been easy to forget that another of our national sides will be gunning for glory on the world stage this month.
The celebrations have come to an end and the medals are safely packed away. And, having returned from Melbourne after what is being hailed as the most successful performance by a South African team at a Commonwealth Games to date, things are looking bright for the country's so-called minor sports.