A record 67 teams descended on the annual SPAR Madibaz Netball Tournament at NMMU’s South Campus this past weekend, with the hosts triumphing in four sections.
Madibaz teams won the A, A reserve, B and C sections, while Despatch took the honours in the D category. Phoenix won the men’s tournament.
Madibaz netball manager Melinda Goosen said the event, which was added to the calendar in 2005, had shown tremendous growth over the years.
According to her, the organisers were forced to add an additional day for the first time this year to accommodate the field.
“Previously, the tournament always took place on a Saturday but, due to the increase in the number of teams, we decided that it would be beneficial to include an additional day.”
Despite adding extra sessions on the Friday afternoon and evening, she said they were still forced to decline applications of several teams due to limited courts and time slots.
Goosen attributed much of the tournament’s success to its timing.
“It takes place at the beginning of the season, which means it allows coaches an opportunity to test their teams before the official season gets under way.”
She said the tournament was aimed at clubs and schools from the larger Eastern Cape area.
“We accommodate all sections and levels of play and having schools take part offers another avenue for the growth of the tournament.” This year’s edition included schools from Nelson Mandela Bay and the Grahamstown area.
“We only market it to the greater Eastern Cape region and the fact that we have had such a great response, especially this year, shows how important it is to have such an event,” said Goosen.
“With SPAR as our partners, we have been lucky to create a tournament in which clubs want to participate.”
Goosen said the event was not only important for the university, but for the region as a whole.
“It is an obligation we have to our fellow clubs.”
She said their focus would now be to get even more teams to participate so there can be greater interaction between sides that don’t normally play against each other.