Netball South Africa in partnership with the South African Breweries today announced the launch of the 2015 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, the second year that Africa’s most prestigious netball league will be staged.
The Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League is the sport’s flagship competition in South Africa and underlines the phenomenal growth of the code in recent years. Most importantly the second edition of the tournament indicates another step towards the goal of a fully-professional women’s sport.
The competition once again pits 10 provincial-based teams from all nine provinces against each other over five weeks of intense competition. For the second year in succession, the event will take place at the University of Pretoria’s impressive sports centre, from where SuperSport will broadcast 37 of the 48 matches live from the venue.
Prize money for winners of both Divisions, Player of the Match funds and extensive lucky draw and competition prizes for spectators will be some of the exciting aspects available to participants at this year’s event.
“Last year’s event was a pilot that proved to be a tremendous success both on the court and in terms of media and fan engagement, so much so that the event was nominated as a best first comer sponsorship award at the Industries Annual Sports Awards Function,” Mimi Mthethwa, President of Netball SA, said at the launch yesterday.
“Nevertheless, this year we have taken what we learned and evolved the concept to make it bigger and better. The 2015 event will pit the very best netball players against each other – and with the stakes raised, you can expect a very high standard on show.”
Mthethwa said the competition had changed the shape of netball in South Africa with more young women taking an interest in playing at the highest level.
“This partnership with SA Breweries has also given us a platform on which we can attempt to build a fully professional league in the future,” said Mthethwa.
“It also proved to be an effective vehicle for any player or even team management member to raise their hand for a spot in the SPAR Proteas national team. In fact two players, a coach and manager identified at last year’s competition have gone on to become part of the Proteas squad.”
Inaugural winners of last year’s competition, Free State Crinums, are well aware of the tough time ahead.
“Last year’s tournament was a tightly contested affair and that epic final could have gone either way, said Coach Burta de Kock. “We were honoured to walk away with title and we are certainly doing everything in our power to make sure we are right up there again.”
De Kock thanked SAB for their role in the developing netball and ensuring that young women would one day have the opportunity to engage in professional sport.
As one of the biggest sponsors of sport in South Africa, the South African Breweries is proud of the success of the inaugural tournament and is excited about the second Netball Premier League season.
“SAB is proud of its long term sports sponsorship which has over the years included the country’s national football, cricket and rugby, but also a variety of other sporting codes such as canoeing and of course player and coaching football development,” said Brutal Fruit Marketing Manager Mtunzi Jonas.
“The addition of Netball where we are the main sponsor, is an association of which we are extremely proud as it contributes to the broader development and recognition of women’s sport.”
Jonas said that even as sponsors, the brand was surprised by the intensity and professionalism of the competition.
“We realised early on that if we were to even the playing field and provide opportunities for sportswomen to develop we needed to invest substantially into them. The success of the last year’s competition indicates to us that our sponsorship rands were well spent and we believe that this first-of-its-kind league will make a difference in the lives of women for years to come,” he concluded.
Photo 1 caption: Netball SA announced it’s extended partnership with the South African Breweries today announced at the launch of the 2015 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, where it unveiled the 2015 season new kit at the glitzy media launch. Photo: Netball SA on Facebook
Photo 2 caption: Representatives from each of the 10 provincial teams give the launch of the 2015 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League a big thumbs up. Photo: Netball SA on Facebook
(With editing by gsport)