Scores of netballers from around South Africa will gather at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town from August 11 for the annual Spar National Championships. Teams will be drawn from Netball South Africa’s (NSA) 47 affiliated districts, with the tournament divided into three divisions. NSA President Mimi Mthethwa says the annual championships remain the premier event on the South African netball calendar, despite the success of the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup played in Pretoria earlier this year.
“The Spar National Championships and the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup serve different purposes. The Brutal Fruit Netball Cup is aimed at the elite players, whereas the National Championships have an important developmental role. The Spar National Championships give players at all levels the chance to play the game they love and to experience the enjoyment of being part of a group of women committed to their sport. Competition is just as fierce in the B and C divisions as it is in the A division, and the players love being able to test their ability against their peers. This will be a particularly important year for us as South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, and the championships, as always, will be played during women’s month. Women’s sports have come a long way in the past 20 years, and support for women’s sports is growing all the time. Young girls can now dream of being given the recognition and support granted to men’s sports and of the possibility of making a career out of their sport,” said Mthethwa. Mangaung Metro (formerly Free State) are defending champions, having won the national title for the first time in more than 50 years when they came from behind to beat Gauteng North 39-36 in the final in Rustenburg last year. With the Free State Crinums winning the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup in June, the Free State team will be favorites to win again, but they can expect stiff competition from all teams in the A Section.
The Spar National Netball Championships start on August 11 and the final will be played on August 16.