Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Potchefstroom) coach Elsje Jordaan has come out in support of the new format of the SPAR national netball championships, which are being played on a district, rather than a provincial basis.
Jordaan was speaking after her team beat Mangaung Metro 59-37 on the second day of the tournament at Young Park.
“Yes, there have been some lopsided results, but we have to expose as many players as possible to the top level of netball in South Africa,” she said.
“There are pros and cons on both sides, but if you want to build depth, this is the way to go. There are more players, more teams and more games,” she said.
The 2018 national championships are the biggest ever held in South Africa, with more than a thousand players taking part in the senior and under-21 tournaments.
Jordaan said she had been surprised by the extent of her team’s victory over what was essentially the Free State Crinums.
“I expected a tougher game, but we started very well and kept going from there. Since the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League we have been focussing on converting turnovers, starting well and playing positive netball.
“A big win like that will give the players confidence for their crucial matches against Tshwane and Cape Winelands on Thursday.”
Jordaan said matches against the weaker teams gave her the opportunity to play all her bench players.
“I don’t want them to become arrogant, and I have warned them they need to stay humble and to respect the game. When we play the weaker teams, we focus on our own targets for each quarter. I certainly don’t want them to start chasing a hundred goals, but to focus on playing good netball,” she said.
In their earlier matches, Dr Kenneth Kaunda beat Bojanale (Rustenburg) 103-23 and Mangaung beat Ehlanzeni 75-17.
Defending champions Tshwane and Cape Winelands continued their dominance, with big victories over some of the weaker teams. Tshwane beat Gert Sibande (Ermelo) 82-20 and Nelson Mandela Bay 63-23. Cape Winelands beat the struggling Saran Baartman (Kimberley) by a massive 104 to three, and Gert Sibande 73-27.
In other matches, Nelson Mandela Bay beat Nkangala (Middelburg) 49-37. Cape Town beat Ehlanzeni (Nelspruit) 76-14 and Nkangala achieved their first victory, beating Sarah Baartman 65-30.
Before the pace on the court got frantic, a moment of significance was observed when Netball South Africa took the opportunity to honour struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu by presenting the her family with a portrait of “the mother of the nation” to mark the centenary of her birth.
Accepting the gift on behalf of the Sisulu family, her grandson Jason described how his grandmother had held her family together during the 26 years her Rivonia Trialist husband, Walter Sisulu, spent on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela.
“She remained an activist while keeping her family of seven children together,” he told netball players at the official opening of the 2018 SPAR national championships in Young Park.
“She was also a dedicated nurse and a champion of human rights. Of course, to her 27 grandchildren, she was our beloved Gogo. She would have been very happy to see you all gathered here. She even played netball in her youth and she loved young people. She would have wished you all a happy and successful tournament.”
The portrait was presented to Jason Sisulu by NSA President Cecilia Molokwane and the Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen.
Photo 1 caption: Shongile Hlungwana of Tshwane (R) and Simone Moller of Bojanala in action during day 1 of the SPAR National Netball Championships at Lotto Young Park in Nelson Mandela Bay on July 9, 2018. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 2 caption: Lefebre Rademan of Mangaung Metro (l) and Nothando Dlava of Nkangala in action at the Lotto Young Netball Courts in Port Elizabeth on Monday. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 3 caption: Khanyisa Chawane of Mangaung Metro in action against Nkangala, during day 1 of the Spar National Netball Championships on Monday 9 July 2018. Photo: Reg Caldecott
Photo 2 caption: From the left, Jason Sisulu, Grandson of Albertina Sisulu; Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen and Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane, pictured on Monday 9 July 2018 at the Opening of the SPAR National Championships, held at the Lotto Young Netball Courts in Nelson Mandela Bay. Photo: Reg Caldecott
With editing by gsport