World Cup Interview: Team South Africa

Next on our series of World Cup interviews is another team new to the World Cup this time around.
Team South Africa is the only African team participating in the World Cup this time around (next time, we could hope for an Egyptian entry...), and could be one of the big disruptions in the tournament.
We interviewed Szerdi Nagy (who skates as Julia Sieze-Her) on behalf of the team.
Team ZA logo
Team ZA logo: Ilana van Lingen
So, firstly, Team selection.
It looks to me like all of the SA team are selected from SA-local teams. Did you choose the selection and eligibility criteria to encourage this, or was this just a natural consequence of the process and who submitted applications?
When we initially put out the application it was open to any South African skaters the world over and we had applicants from the Texas Roller Girls, the Royal Windsor Roller Girls and the London Roller Girls as well as from the South African leagues of C-Max, Durban Derby and the Cape Town Roller Girls. For the first round of trials we accepted video submissions, but for the final round of trials we required skaters to attend a bootcamp in South Africa which logistically was a bit tricky for some of our foreign skaters. Despite this, we have skaters from both the Texas Roller Girls and the Royal Windsor Roller Girls who made it into our squad of 18.
Can you give me a brief background for how long derby's been going in SA, and what the scene is like? (Last World Cup, Australia and NZ were the big unknowns, with an active derby scene that just hadn't been visible outside of Oceania; I get the feeling SA is a bit like that?)
That is exactly how it is! Derby came to South Africa in 2010, the first league was based in Johannesburg (C-max) and was started by Melinda Lotz and Candice van Niekerk, the following year a league was started in Cape town and in 2012 a league in Durban. (Since then we have leagues in various stage of development in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Grahamstown and Nelspruit). Within the last two years there has been a significant jump in the level of derby being played in South Africa and this year saw our first inter-league skating. So while derby is pretty active within South Africa, internationally we are virtually unknown and one of only 2 leagues in Africa (the caiRollers in Egypt being the other league). Getting an opportunity to skate internationally at the end of the year we think is going to be eye opening not only for ourselves and our skaters, but for the rest of the world as well!
I see you've already got equipment and training sponsorship from some big names. How else are you raising money and awareness for the big travel and training expenses of getting to the World Cup in Dallas?
I think like in many parts of the world, derby is still a relatively unknown sport so attracting sponsors can be a bit tricky on the home front.  We have had an incredible amount of support from the international derby community who are keen to get us over to Texas! We have a gofundme campaign which is bringing in a bit of money ( and our skaters and leagues are really being super proactive in trying to raise money to send our our girls over. We have skaters doing ultra trail runs to raise money, bout fundraisers, band festival fundraisers and the list goes on. Unfortunately though with our currency being so weak to the US Dollar, it is likely our girls will have to partially fund their trips. We are lucky enough to have received some publicity from various online magazines and even an article in one of our national airlines in flight magazines. One of our main goals in going to the World Cup is to raise derby awareness in South Africa generally.
As a relative unknown (from the perspective of the European/American focus of a lot of derby reporting), what are your aims coming into the World Cup?
South African roller derby is still in its early learning phases, our goal at the world cup is to learn as much as we can to bring back to our home leagues to improve South African derby as a whole and to improve the awareness of our sport. We are hoping that competing in international derby of this level will help legitimise our sport in the future and enable us to seek sponsorship to help some of our teams to be able to travel and skate internationally in the future.

Since this interview, Team South Africa have received sponsorship from Nistevo USA , and have a huge range of merchandise available from their website.

The Team ZA roster is:

MICHELLE DOSSON, Booty Queen 000 PHILIPPA VAN WELIE, Pippa 575 ROZANNE DU PREEZ, Betty Bone Crusher ak47 TERI ROBERTS, Gazelle 8 AIMEE PLANK, The Iron Tyrant 917 SAMANTHA SCHOLTZ, Slam-U-Well Jackson 25 JEANETTE VENSKE, Sugarfists 89 EMILIA DOMAGALA, Bug Off 001 CLAIRE HAYWARD, Miss C Malice 22 CANDICE VAN NIEKERK, Ling Vom Bot 33 SZERDI NAGY, Julia Seize-Her 11 LAURIE BAUER, Sookie Smackhouse 7 KELLY WOOLDRIDGE, Electri-Kell 900w LAUREN BARKUME, Pit Bullet 50mm

Reserves: ZANI FOURIE, Red Mist 1981 JOLIZE JACOBS, G.I. JoJo 03 CHRISTL BOUWER, Ming Die-Nasty 888 ASHLEIGH PIENAAR, Ashtrix 225