Johannesburg, South Africa - Scores of netball players will descend on the Korfbalpark in Gezina, on Saturday for the annual Tshwane Club Development Challenge.
Netball is the most popular women’s sport in South Africa, but many young women stop playing after they leave school. The Development Challenge is partly aimed at ensuring that they remain involved in the sport. It offers clubs the opportunity to test their strength against other clubs and to attract new players. Senior and Under-19 teams from 24 clubs in the seven regions of Tshwane will take part.
“It’s a fun day,” said tournament director Claudine Claassen. “The players will receive t-shirts and goody-bags, and they will also have the opportunity to meet members of the SPAR national netball squad, who represent the cream of netball in South Africa,” she said. “We hope people will turn out in their numbers to watch the netball and support their local club.”
The clubs have also been encouraged to bring along young umpires, who stand a chance of travelling to Jamaica to take part in a young umpires training programme in later this year.
Jamaica is the only country that has a formal young umpires training programme, and has agreed to involve young South Africans in the programme, which is open to girls and boys inside and outside of Gauteng, between the ages of 15 and 20.
Netball South Africa (NSA) has given their full support of the programme, and will be involved in the nomination of the group chosen to travel to Jamaica. “If we are to grow our sport and increase our international ranking, we need outstanding officials as well as players,” said Claassen. “We will use the Development Challenge as an opportunity to identify some talented young umpires.”
Registration for the tournament opens at 7h30am, and the prize-giving ceremony will be just before 4pm.