The National Netball Championships starting in Bellville, Cape Town on Monday have been dealt a blow following the withdrawal of the Tshwane Senior and Under-21 teams and a tragic road accident.
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Pre-tournament testing revealed that two players in the Tshwane group were positive for the virus but with more showing symptoms already the Tshwane Netball executive has taken action.
Tshwane forced to withdraw from National Netball Championships
Both teams from Tshwane have been pulled from the tournament for fear of compromising the entire event.
Over the weekend, Tshwane officials informed their parent body, Gauteng Netball that the teams have been withdrawn and advised to isolate themselves for an appropriate period.
President of Gauteng Netball Riana Bezuidenhout lamented the missed opportunity for Tshwane to defend their national championship in the Cape.
“It will be the first time in history that Tshwane will not be able to participate and again defend their title this year,” said Bezuidenhout. “It is paramount that the safety of all players & management will not be compromised at any stage. The mitigation plan of the district is quite clear and provided guidance in this decision.”
Road accident claims lives of netball players and officials
A a bus carrying two teams from the OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape was involved in a fatal bus accident in which four people died and 25 were injured.
Netball SA (NSA) president Cecilia Molokwane confirmed that the deceased were three players and an official.
“We know by now that one of our districts was involved in a terrible accident this morning (Sunday) and we have fatalities, as the netball family we are totally devastated by this,” said Molokwane during the championship welcome press conference in Cape Town on Sunday.
Around 50 teams will be competing in the senior division and some 40 teams at the Under-21 level when the National Championships get underway this coming week.
Cape Town has also been chosen as the venue for the 2023 Netball World Cup and this event provides them with crucial practice in staging events in the city’s northern suburbs.
Netball is a hugely popular participation sport played by over 20 million women worldwide. It is a regular feature of school sports in South Africa and is played socially in clubs around the country.
Supermarket chain Spar supports the National Netball Championships which are usually played annually in August between provincial and regional netball teams. This tournament provides an exciting feast of netball for the players and spectators as well as allowing national team selectors to view the up and coming players of the future.