Pretoria, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) announced on Thursday that KwaZulu Natal captain Bongiwe Msomi will captain the SPAR Proteas on their tour of New Zealand and Australia later this month for the Quad Series.

Bongi Msomi the newly appointed captain of the SPAR Proteas team on court at the Diamond Challenge last year in Port Shepstone Ugu Sports and Leisure center.

Karla Mostert the newly appointed vice-captain of the SPAR Proteas team at Hoy Park in Durban during the SPAR National Netball Championships 2016 .
Photo Credit : Reg Caldecott

Msomi succeeds Maryka Holtzhausen, who suffered a devastating knee injury during the SPAR national championships in Durban last week. Holtzhausen underwent surgery on Wednesday and could be out of action for up to eight months.
“I am very honoured to have been named captain,” said Msomi, who is a midcourt player.
“I have great respect for Maryka as a leader and as a player, and we are all so sad that this has happened to her. But I have been her vice captain for some time, and that will make it easier for me to take over. I will also always be able to consult her.”
Free State goal defence Karla Mostert was named vice captain of the team. She said the appointment was not a total surprise.
“Some time ago, a Proteas leadership team was formed, and I was a member of that team. I have captained the Free State Varsity Cup team, so I am quite used to playing a leadership role,” said Mostert.
“Bongi and I have played together for a long time and I think we will work well together.”
The Proteas leave for New Zealand on Saturday. They will meet up with their Australia coach Norma Plummer ahead of their opening match against Australia in Auckland on Saturday August 27. Both leaders believe the time has come for South Africa to step up a gear and challenge the world’s three top teams.
“We have been working hard with Norma and I think we have learned a lot. We put some of it into practice in the series against Wales and we are looking forward to doing it against the best,” said Msomi.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us, and the best way of gauging where we are.”
The SPAR Proteas will then travel to Melbourne to play against England (4 September 2016) and Australia (27 August 2016) before returning home to South Africa.


Stellenbosch, Cape Town; To fall in line with the aims and objectives of Tennis South Africa (TSA) to give local junior talent international exposure, TSA confirmed on Tuesday that Stellenbosch would once again host a back to back series of international tennis tournaments.
The Digicall Futures which was launched last year will be staged again this year at the Maties Tennis Club in the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds of the University of Stellenbosch from 29 October to 20 November 2016. The men’s and women’s series will consist of three tournaments namely the Digicall Futures 1, Digicall Futures 2 and Digicall Futures 3. Each tournament would have a 32 men’s and women’s singles draw and a 16 team men’s and women’s doubles draw. There will be a sign up qualification tournament ahead of each of the three Futures.
In a boost for South African Tennis, TSA confirmed that the wild cards for each of the abovementioned tournament would be awarded through the Curro Wild Card Initiative.
The organisers of the Digicall Futures have decided to allocate 50% of the available wild cards to local junior talent in order to encourage and reward local participation and support for TSA events. In doing so South African players are able to gain access to the main draw of local International events.
The wild cards will therefore be offered to the following players:
• Wild Card to SA Junior National u18 winners played in Bloemfontein in April (boy and girl) into 2 weeks of their choice.
• Wild Card to best SA performing player at the Curro Junior ITF Grade 3 week, to be played in September (boy and girl) into 2 weeks of their choice
• Wild Card to Junior Masters u18 winner (boy and girl), to be played in October, into 2 weeks of their choice
Remaining wild cards will be awarded by the tournament committee on a case by case situation as wild cards do remain the prerogative of the tournament committee.
Carl Roothman of the Organising Committee said “Our idea as organising committee is to reward the top junior players in South Africa with direct access to the Futures in a more structured way and a goal for the top juniors to work towards. It will also give more prominence to the u18 National and Masters titles.”
Tournament Director, Le Roux Conradie of Caylix Sports said “We are truly excited and honoured to have the Digicall Futures Series back at the Maties Tennis Club in Stellenbosch for the 2nd year running and trust that it will give an excellent opportunity for our players and provide an unforgettable experience to each and every player attending. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for their continuous support and commitment to help with the development and growth of tennis in our country and what better place than Stellenbosch to visit during November.”
Other than the title sponsor Digicall, it was confirmed that Curro Holdings, Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, Stellenbosch University, Chill beverages (Score Energy) and Agua e Vida Water would be associate and supplier sponsors of the series.



Pretoria, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) confirmed on Tuesday that SPAR Proteas captain Maryka Holtzhausen will miss the Quad series against Australia, New Zealand and England later this month.

Lindie Lombard has been named by Netball South Africa as the replacement for the injured Captain Maryka Holtzhausen for Quad series against Australia, New Zealand and England from the 27th August this month to the 4th September 2016 held in both New-Zealand and Australia.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Holtzhausen tore a ligament in her right knee (ACL) playing for Free State in the SPAR national netball championships in Durban last week. She will undergo surgery on Wednesday and will require up to eight months rehabilitation.
NSA Director of Selectors Christine du Preez said Gauteng goal attack Lindie Lombard would replace Holtzhausen.
“My heart bleeds for Maryka,” said Du Preez. “She was coming into her prime and playing the best netball of her life.
“She will be missed as a player and as a leader. We expect her to be back in time for the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League next year.”
Lombard was part of the team that played in the Netball World Cup in Sydney last year. She made her Test debut in 2012. Ironically, her international career was disrupted by torn knee ligaments in 2012 and 2014.
“I really feel for Maryka, ” said Lombard.
“I have had the same injury to both knees, so I know what she is going through. “But I am thrilled to be back in the SPAR Proteas team, and I am looking forward to going to New Zealand and Australia and training under Norma Plummer again.
“It will also be very good to be playing internationally with Lenize Potgieter. We played together last week and our combination as goal shooter and goal attack really worked well.”
Meanwhile, North West goalshooter Sigrid Burger has been given until Wednesday to be declared fit for the tour, after an ankle injury that kept her out of the national championships. Another Gauteng player, 20-year-old Ina-Marie Venter, is on standby to take her place if Burger is unable to travel.
The team leaves on Saturday. Their first match will be against Australia in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday August 27.
SPAR Proteas team for Quad Series: Erin Burger (Western Cape), Lauren-Lee Christians (Free State), Rochelle Lawson (Western Cape), Lindie Lombard (Gauteng), Izette Lubbe (Gauteng), Phumza Maweni (Western Cape), Karla Mostert (Free State), Bongiwe Msomi (KwaZulu Natal), Precious Mthembu (KwaZulu Natal), Lenize Potgieter (Gauteng), Renske Stoltz (North West), Jeanie Steyn (Gauteng), Zanele Vimbela (Eastern Cape )
Coach: Norma Plummer, Dorette Badenhorst



Sun City, South Africa; Tennis coaching in South Africa was recently given a welcome boost by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

In a letter addressed to Tennis South Africa (TSA) President, Gavin Crookes, Luca Santilli Executive Director, ITF Tennis Development Department wrote “I am pleased to inform you that based on the criteria, after undertaking an extensive review process of the documents provided by Tennis South Africa on your Coach Education system and following face to face meetings with you and your staff in 2015 and 2016, the ITF recognises that all of the criteria established by the ITF Coaches Commission for the Silver level recognition have been met and that Tennis South Africa has established a Coach Education system up to Silver level (self-sufficient up to Coaching Advanced Players Course – former ITF Level 2) that meets the quality standards set by the ITF.

The Silver Status level is the first to be awarded to any country in Africa and as a result, coaches who qualify in South Africa will be given international coaching recognition.

Pictured from left Miguel Crespo International Tennis Federation (ITF) Manager for Participation and Coaching, Riaan Kruger ITF Southern Africa Development Officer, Tennis South Africa President Gavin Crookes, TSA Board member for coaching Bridget Visee, Allan Karam TSA board member for performance, Helen Barret Professional Coach and Leon Freimond, TSA Manager performance, coaching, schools at Sun City where TSA were awarded the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Silver Status Recognition Certificate for TSA Coaches training from Miguel Crespo. South Africa is the first
country in Africa to be accredited this way. This allows any coaches with the TSA coaching qualification to be recognised worldwide.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott

The ITF, in conjunction with its Coaches Commission, established criteria and minimum standards for Coach Education systems, which were adopted by the ITF Board of Directors. These criteria, along with the coaching competencies agreed for the different levels of Coach Education, were put together in an effort to ensure quality standards in Coach Education systems worldwide and to allow the Coach Education systems of ITF member nations to be assessed by the ITF.

As a result, the ITF agrees to formally recognise the Coach Education system of Tennis South Africa up to Silver level for a four-year period from 1 July 2016 until 31 December 2020.
Tennis South Africa now has the right to use the ITF coaching logo on their coach education material/resources including coaches license cards.

Santilli ended his letter congratulating TSA on having their Coach Education system approved up to Silver level by the ITF.

Miguel Crespo, ITF Manager for participation and Coaching presented the Silver Status Certificate to TSA President Gavin Crookes during the ITF Regional Coaches Conference held at Sun City.

Crookes said “The attaining of the Silver Status Approval for TSA Coaching qualifications and education structure from the ITF is the culmination of serious hard work by a number of committed people. This status means that our qualifications are recognised worldwide. Furthermore the Continuing Professional Education Courses that are being presented by TSA that all qualified coaches are required to undertake on an annual basis are likewise both world recognised and ensure that licensed coaches provide a world class up to date tuition to pupils of all ages.
This accreditation will mean that coaches whom are licenced and in good standing with TSA will also more than meet all the expected criteria for membership of the soon to be gazetted National Coaches Association.”



Pretoria, South Africa - Some of South Africa’s top tennis officials invited by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Olympic Committee to do duty in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic and Paralympic Games are making a big impression on court.

Pieter Hoeksma of Pretoria was a line umpire at the tennis event of the Olympics which ended on Sunday and Iain Smith also from Pretoria has been appointed by the ITF as the Competition Referee for the upcoming Paralympics.
Joining Smith at the Paralympics will be Mxolisi Matyolo of Katlehong as a line umpire.

Smith, who was the Assistant Referee at the 2012 London Paralympics was promoted by the ITF to Referee of the Rio Paralympics.

Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa (TSA) said that the appointments were a clear indication that South Africa were recognised by the ITF as a leader in tennis officiating. “TSA pride themselves in a sound officiating programme that gives opportunity to all South Africans inclusive of all races and we are pleased that a number of officials, including Iain Smith, Pieter Hoeksma and Mxolisi Matyolo are appointed annually by the ITF to their major international events. These appointments clearly indicate that our programmes are well structured and professionally operate and are producing world class officials.”



Durban, South Africa - Western Cape, who had been the best team throughout the tournament, finished off a golden week on Saturday to win the SPAR national netball championships at the Hoy Park Centre in Durban.

The victorious Western Cape netball team after defeating the Free State in the final of the SPAR national netball championships are from left, front: Vanes-Mari du Toit, Abeline Olivier, Erin Burger (captain), Remina Stephan and Roche de Reuck; back: Rochelle Lawson, Mari-Lena Joubert, Megan Gossmann, Jaumbuzile Zauana, Pumza Mwaweni, Annelie Lucas (coach) en Hanlie Raath (head of management).

Picture by: Reg Caldecott

They beat Free State by 50 goals to 35 in the final. Western Cape dominated the game from the start, and Free State never looked like coming back from behind. They were just three goals ahead at halftime, but then they turned up the heat and extended their lead in the next two quarters.
The Free State defenders, Tanya and Karla Mostert, were unable to restrain the Western Cape attack, led by the very tall goalshooter of the tournament, Jaumbuaije ‘Bytjie’ Zauana, assisted by Vanes-Mari du Toit and Mari-Lena Joubert. Du Toit moved to goalkeeper in the second half, and made life difficult for the Free State attack.
Captain Erin Burger had another outstanding game, leading her team with some inspirational moves.
“It was teamwork, solid defence and a good attack that helped us to win all our matches this week,” said coach Annelie Lucas.
“I started with the same combination in every game, and then brought on other players to rest some legs after halftime. I brought the bench players on with five minutes to go because they had helped us to win the game, and they deserved to play in the final,” said Lucas.
“We have a very good club structure in the Western Cape, and we have a lot of very experienced players,” she said.
Free State coach Burta de Kock said the outcome was disappointing, but she said it was always going to be difficult against an experienced team like Western Cape.
“But I am proud of the players, and they will benefit from the experience of playing in a final. Most of my team will be playing in the Varsity Cup and we will put into practice what we learned at this tournament.
Gauteng A1finished in third position, with North West in fourth.
Karla Mostert was named player of the tournament. Zauana was shooter of the tournament, Burger was named best midfield player and Phumza Maweni was the defender of the tournament.
Earlier, North West narrowly beat Gauteng 52-50 to take the Under 21 title, in a thrilling match that went into extra time.


Durban, South Africa - Supermarket giant SPAR has shown its faith in the biggest woman’s sport in South Africa by renewing its sponsorship to the tune of R35 million over the next four years.

From left Blanche de la Guerre (CEO of Netball South Africa), Graham O’Connor (SPAR CEO), Mimi Mthethwa (President of Netball South Africa), Mike Prentice (SPAR Marketing Executive) signing the extended for year R35mil sponsorship of Netball South Africa by The SPAR Group Ltd. at the official opening of the SPAR National Netball Championships on Women’s Day at Hoy Park Sports Complex in Durban on Tuesday.

SPAR Proteas national netball team with Mike Prentice (SPAR Marketing Executive – middle back) and Mimi Mthethwa (President of Netball South Africa – middle front) with the SPAR cheque of R35mil for the new four year sponsorship of Netball South Africa at the official opening of the SPAR National Netball Championships on Women’s Day at Hoy Park Sports Complex in Durban on Tuesday.

Picture Credit: Reg Caldecott

The renewed sponsorship will enable Netball South Africa to continue its efforts to break into the top four in world netball. South Africa is currently ranked fifth in the world, behind Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica.

Making the announcement at the opening of the annual SPAR national championships in Durban on Tuesday, SPAR Marketing Executive Mike Prentice said the renewed sponsorship was an opportunity to show the company’s support for the women of South Africa.
“Sport provides an exciting platform on which to build our brand and women’s sport presents an excellent channel for this,” said Prentice.
“ The huge majority of our customers are women, and we believe we have a duty to support them in return. Netball provides us with a great opportunity to demonstrate our support for our customers. “
Prentice said the sponsorship would cover netball’s pride and joy, the SPAR national team, future Proteas in the form of the Baby Proteas, the annual national championships and the SPAR Challenge – an annual international series played at home.
“It will also cover the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, in partnership with South African Breweries, netball development, administration and overall promotion of the game we all love so dearly,” said Prentice.

Netball South Africa (NSA) President Mimi Mthethwa said NSA was overjoyed at the renewal of the sponsorship.
“We are overwhelmed by the trust SPAR has shown in NSA and for women in sport,” said Mthethwa.
SPAR shares our vision of women growing through sport. Our partnership has helped us to build the image of netball. It has also empowered women by developing their skills in management, administration and in the ability to host tournaments.
“Our mother body, the International Netball Federation, has been very impressed by the tournaments we have hosted, saying they are on a par with tournaments in wealthier countries,” said Mthethwa.
“The sponsorship is so much more than just looking after our national team – it is about empowering women in South Africa.”

Thanking SPAR, Proteas captain Maryka Holtzhausen said the netball players of South Africa would make SPAR proud not just of the way they played netball but of the women they would become.

The extended sponsorship contract was signed in front of the 830 championship participants by Prentice and Mthethwa witnessed by SPAR Group CEO, Graham O’Connor and Netball South Africa CEO, Blanche de La Guerre.

SPAR has been the main sponsor of Netball South Africa for the past 13 years.


Durban, South Africa - The organizers of the SPAR national senior and Under-21 netball championships can breathe easily once again, with all systems go for the tournament which starts on Monday.

Mami Diale director of Demarcations, Monique Roberts the U21 Captain,Edelweiss Calitz U21 caoch,Julene Meyer coach,Nadia Uys Captain and Mimi Mthethwa president of Netball South Africa.

Coaches and Captains of the defending champions of the SPAR National Championships 2015 the North West Province and President, CEO and Director of Demarcations of Netball South Africa- at the media press conference held at the Marine Parade Hotel in Durban on Sunday.

Pictures credit: Reg Caldecott

The floods in Durban last month caused some anxious moment after the courts at Hoy Park were flooded, but by last Thursday, everything was back to normal.
“We had a Plan B, but fortunately we didn’t need to use it,” Netball South Africa (NSA) chief executive Blanche de la Guerre said on Sunday afternoon.
“We waited until Thursday for a final inspection, and found that everything was in order,” she said.
“So the Championships can start as planned, at eight o’clock tomorrow morning.”
For the second year in succession, the championships will be played on a provincial basis, with the players representing their provinces rather than districts, as was formerly the case. Twenty-two teams will take part in the senior tournament and 17 in the Under-21 championships, with A and B sections in each.
“We brought in this format in an effort to raise the standard of play,” said tournament director, Mami Diale.
“We are going to try this format for three years to see how it works, but so far we are very pleased with the new format. We believe there has definitely been an improvement in the standard of play.“
NSA President Mimi Mthethwa said NSA was trying to promote transformation among the teams, but was operating on a target basis rather than introducing a quota system.
“We will look at the demographics in each province and our aim is to ensure that by 2018, the teams reflect the demography of their province. But the bottom line is that we want the provinces to send their best players to the championships. We are focussing on development rather than quotas,” she said.
North West Province had a clean sweep at the championships last year, winning the A and B sections in both the senior and Under-21 tournaments, but North West coach Julene Meyer is aware that it will not be easy to repeat this success.
“When you are the defending champions, you are the benchmark for all the other teams, who want to bring you down,” said Meyer.
“It won’t be easy, but we have prepared very well and we will play our best in every match.”
North West captain Nadia Uys said they knew there would be no easy games.
“We had a terrible disappointment in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, where we won all our matches, only to fall in the semifinal, and we don’t want a repeat of that. There are several very strong teams, like Gauteng, Free State and Western Province, and we know no game will be easy.
“There will be no arrogance from our side, but we will go hard at every game,” she said.



Durban, South Africa - Defending champions North West got off to a winning start on the opening day of the SPAR national netball championships at the Hoy Park Sports Centre on Monday, beating Gauteng Two by 51 goals to 17.

Kenilwe Kgasi of North West Province and an opposing player at Hoy Park Sports Complex today in Durban on the first day of the SPAR National Championships 2016.

Gauteng Province vs Western Cape Province players on court at the Hoy Park Sports Complex today in Durban on the first day of the SPAR National Championships 2016.

Nadia Uys of North West Province and Jody Brown of the Gauteng Province on court at the Hoy Park Sports Complex in Durban on the first day of the SPAR National Championships 2016.

Photo credit : Reg Caldecott

The opening day’s matches were played in windy conditions, which made goal scoring difficult for all the teams. North West coach Julene Meyer said the gusty conditions meant that her team could not make use of their specialist long distance shooters, as the ball swirled away from the net, but she was happy with the start of their campaign.
“I was happy to be able to give everyone a run on court and to get a win. From tomorrow we can build on that, and hopefully the weather will improve. The wind has a big impact on game plans,” said Meyer.
“But we were able to try out different combinations. From now on, we will be playing two or three games a day, so I need to make sure that everyone has game time.”
Gauteng Two coach Jenni-Lee Delport said her team had mixed fortunes on the opening day, beating Mpumalanga 47-24, but going down heavily to Western Cape and North West.
“Western Cape are a tough team – they are tournament contenders,” she said.
“We struggled against them. We started well in our match against North West, but then the players started making silly mistakes. But we will get better as the tournament goes on,” said Delport.
Western Cape had three matches on the opening day, beating KwaZulu Natal One 63-18, Gauteng Two 68-15 and thrashing KwaZulu Natal Two 94-10.
Gauteng One had an easy start to the tournament, with a comprehensive 88-21 victory over Northern Cape. Free State also got off to a good start, beating Eastern Cape 52-21 and Northern Cape 75-19. Eastern Cape bounced back from their loss to Free State with a 56-37 win over Limpopo, who beat KwaZulu Natal Two 57-40 in their earlier match.
KwaZulu Natal One also had a mixed day, recovering from their loss to Western Cape by beating Mpumalanga 49-22.


Durban, South Africa - Floods in Durban have disrupted preparations for the SPAR national netball championships, which get under way on Monday August 8.
“We were to have played at Hoy Park Netball Centre, but the courts were flooded during the recent heavy rains,” said Netball South Africa chief executive Blanche de la Guerre.
“We will be inspecting the courts on Monday, to see if we will be able to play there. We have made contingency plans to find another venue if there has been too much damage at Hoy Park,” she said.
De la Guerre said the championships could not be moved from Durban, because the teams had already booked their transport and accommodation.
The 2016 national championships will follow the same format as last year, when teams represented provinces rather than regions.

“This is a major event on the national netball calendar appropriately played in women’s month and our official opening ceremony will take place on national women’s day. It’s the largest inter provincial championships of any sporting code played at one time with over 800 players representing 39 regions participating” said De la Guerre.
The tournament will have a under 21 section and senior section.
All members of the SPAR national team which will be travelling to New Zealand for the Quad Series against Australia, New Zealand and England, will be playing at the national championships.
“We won’t have a training camp in South Africa before they game, and playing in the national championships will give them much needed game time,” said De la Guerre.

De la Guerre also confirmed that the victorious under 21 SPAR Baby Proteas who this past weekend were unbeaten in the African Qualifiers for next year’s World Youth World Cup would also all be playing in the national championships.
North West coach Dorette Badenhorst will be aiming to repeat her success of a year ago, when North West made a clean sweep of all the titles on offer at the championships in Ugu, near Margate. The senior and under 21 teams was unbeaten throughout the tournament.

Badenhorst has made a habit of winning recently – she returned last month from the World University championships in Miami, where the South African team won gold, after beating Jamaica 43-39 in the final. She followed that by coaching the South African Under-21 team to first place in the Youth World Cup qualifiers in Botswana.
But Badenhorst may not have it all her own way this year. The presence of the SPAR Proteas, who missed the championships last year because they had just returned from the Netball World Cup in Sydney means teams like Gauteng, Free State and Western Province will be back to full strength.


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