South Africa
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Death and Covid: Disaster strikes National Netball Champs

Despite being hit by multiple disasters at the weekend, with a fatal car accident and the spread of Covid affecting teams from different provinces, organisers insisted the Spar National Netball Championships would go ahead in Cape Town as planned over the next week.

On the eve of the domestic showpiece, Netball South Africa (NSA) revealed on Sunday that members of the OR Tambo district team from the Eastern Cape had been involved in a vehicle collision on their way to the event.

The federation, however, could not provide details of the incident or confirm how many individuals were affected.

“This is not a great day for the netball family, as one of our districts was involved in a terrible accident which included fatalities,” said NSA president Cecilia Molokwane.

“We can’t release any further information until we know more details about what transpired, and families need to be informed first, but we have been told there has been a loss of lives, and right now our heads are down.”

In another blow, defending champions Tshwane were forced to withdraw from the national championships after “four or five” of their players tested positive for Covid.

With no other squads returning positive test results, however, the national federation remained determined to proceed with the event.

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“They felt the whole squad should quarantine, so Tshwane have only released their U-21 players (who had not trained or interacted with senior players) for the tournament,” Molokwane said.

“We must still sit with the events team at NSA and look at how we move forward, but the Spar National Championships will be held as scheduled. We have to accept situations like this and move on, and we will make sure the event continues.”

Over 1 300 players from 89 district teams will compete in the six-day national championships at Hoërskool DF Malan, starting on Monday morning, in the U-21 and senior age groups.