By John Tueriajama
THE All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) is plotting a comeback for the sport, following a dismal period in which Namibian national team lost its international ranking, due to inactivity.
The comeback trail begins with a five-nation tournament in Windhoek in September, which will also feature Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as another International Netball Federation (INF) accredited event, which will take place in May next year.
The September tournament has been organised in conjunction with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) and an undisclosed sponsor, Confidente has learnt during an interview with ANNA Vice-President, Isadore Nell.
Namibia needs to play a total of ten games in a cycle, in order to receive a world ranking.“I cannot disclose the name of the sponsor at this juncture, but you (the media) will certainly be informed at the launch of the tournament,” Nell said.
As part of the netball rejuvenation efforts, ANNA has also been working hand in hand with FNB Namibia, which is sponsoring the ongoing Classic Clashes, and the Bank Windhoek, which is the benefactor of the Bank Windhoek Super Netball League.
“The new child on the block is the Dinolo Super Netball Tournament. It’s a pilot project, and we will have to wait until it concludes, to look at its successes and challenges,” said Nell. She said that ANNA had hosted regional trials over the past weekend, at which a team was selected that will compete in August against yet to be disclosed opponents. However, the national netball side’s quest to get back on the world ranking radar was dampened by their lacklustre performance at the recently held Africa Netball Championships in Uganda.
The team lost 69-31 to hosts Uganda, 57-38 to Botswana, 64-35 to Malawi, 56-46 to Zambia and 68-37 to Zimbabwe.
Dinolo Super Netball Tournament coordinator, Charlane Minnaar, bemoaned the lack of netball talent in the regions, saying there are very few players who are acquainted with the rules and regulations of the game.
The tournament has so far been played in the Khomas, Erongo, Hardap and Kavango West regions. Minnaar said that Erongo and Khomas are almost equal in terms of talent and strength, but it is heartbreaking that regions such as Hardap and Kavango West do not have regional tournaments or structures. “There are no facilities in these regions nor are there any qualified coaches or umpires to grow the game in the regions,” she said.
Minnaar said that because of this lack of league structures in the regions, players with talent are never nurtured or do not attend national trials. “The Dinolo Super Netball Tournament is a platform for players or teams to compete in; I have seen a few potential players, and I must say Namibia has good talented players, but development is seriously lacking,” Minnaar lamented. She said these teams are never seriously groomed and moulded into a force to be reckoned with, and that ANNA must ensure that training camps are held, so that a solid national side can be chosen. “Players selected are not getting the much-needed exposure; it will take three to five years to build a quality team, as currently players are selected and barely know each other, and yet they are sent to compete internationally,” Minnaar said.
She urged local netball coaches, as well as ANNA, to embark upon talent scouting in the regions, as there is enough talent in abundance.
Minnaar said that the Dinolo Super Netball Tournament in Hardap two weeks ago had attracted teams from as far afield as Kalkrand and Stampriet, but these teams can barely afford anything, including balls.
She said for Namibia to once again achieve a world ranking, ANNA must encourage the regions to establish netball leagues and have trials.
Dinolo Super Netball Tournament sponsor, African Deli, said that the reality is that netball needed to be revived.
African Deli Public Relations Officer, Anne-Marie Malatudi, said that coaches needed to scout for talent through the tournament.
She said a total of 17 teams had taken part in the Erongo tournament, while over 15 teams had competed in the Hardap edition.
The Khomas tournament attracted over 20 teams, while Kavango West has registered over ten teams for last weekend’s tournament.
Malatudi said the winners of the individual regional tournaments will converge in Swakopmund in September, for the ultimate prize.
She said that African Deli is injecting close to N$500 000 in the tournament.
African Deli is a new home-grown start-up, founded in January 2013 as a food manufacturer that provides quality, healthy, good affordable and convenient ready-made traditional food.
The netball project is directly tied to the heartbeat of the country’s national development goals, namely the Growth at Home strategy and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015