The university’s netball team are aiming for an unprecedented seventh title in a row in the first Spar NMMU netball tournament of the season at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth on March 7. The tournament, taking place on NMMU’s Second Avenue Campus in Summerstrand, will see more than 50 teams from various local and provincial clubs competing across six pools – including a men’s division. Although the Madibaz outfit have dominated the tournament since its inception in 2009, netball manager Theresa Le Roux said Framesby Netball Club had excelled in last year’s competition and could deliver a surprise.
She was however confident that it would be one of the NMMU teams that would claim victory in the competitive A-section: ‘Our first team dominated Pool A last year and the university’s other teams have also won several of the other pools. We are fortunate enough to have most of the top players in the province in our A and A-reserve teams.’ Le Roux said the university was able to call on the services of players such as Proteas stars Zanele Mdodana and Zanele Vimbela, who are both fresh from the national training camp. In addition to the more experienced players, the Madibaz will be showcasing fresh talent this year, she said: ‘Our NMMU student team is full of youngsters and this will be a good start for them as they prepare for the tough Ussa and Varsity Netball competitions later this year.’ Besides the plethora of women’s teams taking part, six men’s teams are also included in the line-up, the most ever: ‘The rules for the men are exactly the same as for the women.’
Apart from local clubs like Framesby and Parks that have signed up to challenge the Madibaz men, there are several out-of-town teams in the field: ‘We have entries from the University of Fort Hare and Aliwal North.’ She said the tournament would be a good opportunity for coaches to assess their teams ahead of the big competitions of the season. Action starts at 08:00.
Photo: Zanele Vimbela (left) and Hlumisa Sithonga (centre) are two of the Madibaz players who will be in action at the NMMU netball tournament in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, March 7.
Photo credit: Thys Lombard