Sunshine Coast Lightning Captain Karla Pretorius and husband Werner Pretorius are delighted to announce that they are expecting, with a baby due in June.
Pretorius shared the exciting news to her personal social media accounts in advance of the 2022 South African netball team selection.
Lightning’s Captain is overjoyed at the prospect of becoming a mother but also said she’s committed to helping her Lightning team where she can this season.
“I’m very excited to announce that I am pregnant and Werner and I cannot wait to become parents,” Pretorius said.
“It’s obviously a big decision to step away from netball for a year but I feel it’s the right time for me and my family.
“I’d like to especially thank everyone for their well wishes and thoughts and we’re certainly feeling the love all the way from South Africa.
“Of course, Lightning will remain close to my heart and I will absolutely continue to be involved – albeit in an off court role – and I hope to be back in the team in 2023.”
Lightning athletes, coaches and staff are thrilled at the 31-year-old’s exciting announcement, with Head Coach Kylee Byrne sending her well wishes to South Africa, where Pretorius is currently spending time with family.
“I’m so happy for Karla and Werner and cannot wait to see them embark on a new chapter in their lives as parents,” Byrne said.
“Karla and Werner will still remain a close part of our Lightning family over the next season and I’m sure she will still have a strong influence on our team with her experience and leadership proving invaluable.
“As a team we will miss the on court presence of Karla but it also allows our emerging defenders to put their hand up for increased development opportunities, which will only strengthen us moving forward.”
Lightning CEO Danielle Smith was equally eager to congratulate Pretorius.
“What wonderful news for Karla and Werner,” Smith said.
“As a Foundation player and Captain, Karla has given so much to our Club both on and off the court and we will naturally provide a supportive environment for her, as she prepares to become a mother.
“I’m really proud of our sport which has led the way for our players to be successful as both athletes and parents, with a comprehensive pregnancy and parental management policy.
“This policy, together with the support of Netball Australia and SSN clubs, has enabled a number of SSN players to successfully manage the transition back into professional netball, which includes the continuation of their contractual payments whilst on parental leave.”
The Lightning Foundation Player has chosen to not partake in the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball season, as well as international duties for Netball South Africa – including the upcoming Quad Series and Commonwealth Games.
Pretorius will work collaboratively with coaches and staff to shape what her off court role will look like throughout the upcoming season.
The 31-year-old is contracted to Lightning until the end of 2023.