Netball back on track after lengthy lockdown

With the easing of lockdown restrictions and the announcement of plans to resume netball activities, the Mitchell’s Plain Netball Union is keen to host a major competition, at the weekend.

With the lockdown regulations eased during level one, things have slowly been getting back to normal and there has been a fair amount of sporting activity going on, with strict measures being followed, in the past few weeks.

In line with Covid-19 protocols, the Mitchell’s Plain Netball Association will host the Cape Town Netball Federation’s (CTNF) Youth and Senior tournament, one of the first events since March, on Saturday October 17.

The sport’s governing body, Netball South Africa, had suspended all their activities back in March just before level five lockdown.

But, after seven long months, the city is now ready to produce a big tournament, says CTNF chairperson Marsha Wagenaar.

Although no spectators will be allowed, Wagenaar promises an action-packed event, which after being given the greenlight, will be played under level one regulations.

The one-day tournament will see eight teams – women’s under19A and B; women’s under-21 A and B, senior women’s A and B as well as men’s A and B, battling out.

Wagenaar said that, in terms of planning for the event, all the protocols were in place, and the participating teams and players are aware of what is expected of them, including the fact that no spectators will be allowed in the venue, as per government lockdown regulations.

“Everything’s coming together well. Players have been hard at training, in anticipation of this moment, mostly individually and with the help of their coaches. So, they are ready.

“Everyone is looking forward to having netball back, clubs have been in contact with us, making it clear they want to play. So everyone is ready. We, as organisers are also ready, we’ve been planning for a long time now, so this should be a successful tournament,” she said.

Wagenaar also noted that this weekend’s tournament is the first of a number of events they have planned for the rest of the year.

She said next up in their plans is a series of league matches that will start later this month.

“Those league matches are very important because they will serve as preparations for our teams, which will take part in the national competitions later this year.

Our men’s team will take part in the national championships, in Rustenburg in the North West Province at the beginning of November. Our women’s team, on the other hand, will travel to Bela-Bela in Limpopo, to take part in their own national championships, in December,” she said.

Mitchell’s Plain Netball Union chairperson Igshaan Brenner said they were also ready to get the ball rolling.

“We are ready as can be and confirm Mitchells Plain Netball Union is compliant to return to play netball. There is still much anxiety as we all know the virus is still very active/alive and amongst us. But they are all excited and can’t wait to be back on the courts,” he said.

CTNF player’s commissioner, Bonginkosi Mbayeka, agrees, saying the upcoming tournament is an ideal opportunity for players selected to represent provincial sides prepare for upcoming national competitions, and for social players itching to get back on court.