A record 80 teams took to the courts during the annual SPAR Madibaz Netball Tournament at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth last weekend.
“With the support of our loyal sponsors in SPAR Eastern Cape, we are able to put an event together where there is great exposure for a wide range of players,” said Madibaz Sport netball manager Melinda Goosen.
She added that the opportunity for some teams to play indoors and the activities created around the event had contributed to its increasing popularity.
“Word of mouth of each year’s success makes new teams want to join and experience our Madibaz magic.
“This year we drew 800 players to the tournament, playing in various sections, and this created a wonderful vibe around the whole occasion.”
She added that the growth of the two-day event was an indication of the hunger in the Eastern Cape community for the sport.
“Firstly, it gives coaches the opportunity to test their teams’ abilities as they prepare for upcoming leagues.
“Secondly, those attending, especially schools’ players, get an idea of what it is to be part of the Madibaz netball set-up, providing them with an incentive to join us when they leave school.”
Goosen said it was a chance to demonstrate the talent available in the Eastern Cape and that it was “great” to see them play the game they loved.
The tournament underlined the strength of netball at Madibaz, with their teams winning most of the sections.
Goosen said their success was an indication of the high level of netball at the varsity.
“We have lost some senior players due to them graduating, but we have enormous talent coming through in the first-year students.
“In addition we have great coaches and structures in place to support these players to take them to the next level.”