Tourney delayed because of Covid pandemic

'Smaller' netball champs head to Bela-Bela

Tshwane team with the trophy after winning the final against Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
Tshwane team with the trophy after winning the final against Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
Image: Reg Caldecott

The SPAR national netball championships, which are to take place at Bela-Bela in Limpopo from December 7 to 12, will have a very different look and feel this year.

The championships, normally held in August, had to be delayed because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Netball SA were finally given government permission to host the championships and have selected a resort in Bela-Bela – The Zwartkloof Resort – as the venue for the tournament. The resort has eight courts.

Tournament director Mami Diale said the championships would be smaller than usual because of the circumstances.

“There will be 40 teams taking part – 20 Under-21 and 20 senior teams. There won’t be a C-section this year,” said Diale.

“Eight teams will play in the senior A-section. They will play on a round-robin basis, ending with semi-finals and a final.”

Diale said all participants would have to undergo a Covid-19 test 24 hours before the start of the tournament and then self-isolate to prevent the spread of the disease.

“We are taking over the resort so there will be no mixing with the outside world. We want to ensure everyone’s health and safety and will be creating a “soft bubble” in Bela-Bela in line with the government's Covid-19 safety rules and regulations.

“Because it is expected to be very hot in Bela-Bela, we will start very early in the morning, with the first matches at 06:00am. There will be a three-hour break from noon until 3pm,” said Diale.

Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane said it was unthinkable that a year could pass without the championships taking place.

“We are hosting the World Netball Cup in 2023 and we need to provide as many opportunities as possible for players, coaches, umpires, technical officials, statisticians and everyone involved in the sport to get ready to put on the best ever Netball World Cup,” said Molokwane.

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