Mhluzi Young Fighters coach Ambros Sikutu hopes their experience at the National Twizza Netball Club Championships will breed growth for men’s netball in Mpumalanga in the future.
Young Fighters is a 10-year old club and it will be playing in their first ever national competition taking place at the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha from 22-24 September.
They will face eight other teams from around the country for the coveted title. They defeated five other teams from the province to win the competition during the qualifiers for the nationals at the beginning of September.
The Twizza Netball Club Championships begins in the districts at the beginning of the season to determine the best women’s and men’s clubs to compete at the provincial finals.
The best (male and female) clubs at the provincial finals progress to the national finals played in September.
It all comes down to the National 𝐓𝐰𝐢𝐳𝐳𝐚 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐂𝐥𝐮𝐛 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬! 🙌🇿🇦🏆#TwizzaNetballChamps | #TasteTheMoment | #Twizza | #TakingNetballBackToThePeople | @Twizza_ZA pic.twitter.com/lgikHP8g86 — Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) September 15, 2023
The 2023 edition will see new teams being crowned. Two Gauteng sides won the first edition of the competition, the University of Pretoria-Tuks came out victorious in the women's division and the West Rand's Brothers Netball Club won the men's competition.
Last year's competition saw the Western Cape’s De Tyger, in the women's stream, and the men’s club, the Ocean Predators from KwaZulu-Natal walk away with gold.
In the second edition, Mpumalanga was represented by teams from the Ehlanzeni district, Kabokweni, and Kabokweni Lightning in the men’s division.
Sikutu says although they want to represent their province well by reaching the semifinals, they understand the tight competition they will face and will not put pressure on themselves.
MEN'S NETBALL GROWING, BUT AT SLOW PACE
“It’s the first time that we are going to the competition, we are heading there with unexperienced players at this level. It will be great and challenging on the other hand because you need to motivate and encourage them. However, it will be important not to put them under pressure because for them to qualify for the nationals is a big achievement for them. This will be a time for them to display their talent.
“I am hoping that we at least reach the top four, that would be us saying we didn’t do well. Everyone who has qualified for the nationals is already a winner and everyone who is here is hungry for those top positions but I trust my players. I hope that we are going to make it,” says Sikutu.
The Middelburg-based side competes with other teams in the district which consists of six teams in total.
The team has players between the ages of 16 and 23 for both women and men.
Sikutu reckons that with more teams, more players will be drawn to the sport which will create competition and a bigger pool of players.
“Men’s netball in the Nkangala region is growing but at a slow pace. That also applies to the growth in the province but the district that is growing faster than others is our district, Nkangala. There is also growth (of the sport) in South Africa, some of the provinces, like Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal are dominating. Maybe the third one could be the Eastern Cape and maybe we can rate ourselves the fourth province that is showing growth in men’s netball. In general, with the support of the president (Cecilia Molokwane), it gives motivation for upcoming male netball players to fall in love with netball,” he explains.
He adds that a bigger and top tier league in the province will not only fast track the growth of the sport in Mpumalanga but could also help the province be more competitive in the country.
“We really need a Super League in Mpumalanga because most of the dominant provinces I spoke about already have Super Leagues. When you have a Super League, it encourages players because they would be participating on a regular basis and that is where their talent would grow and be seen. I think also the marketing strategy of that league would be influential in helping our province grow quickly,” he says.
Netball South Africa’s Molokwane believes the competition is important in ensuring that more players around the country get the desired opportunities for competition.
“The opportunities created by the Twizza Netball Club Championships are invaluable, ensuring the continued vitality of our competitive netball and enabling us to identify future national players,” she says.
Join us in Gqeberha as the BEST CLUB TEAMS in South Africa go head to head in the National 𝐓𝐰𝐢𝐳𝐳𝐚 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐂𝐥𝐮𝐛 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬! 🙌🥳🇿🇦#TwizzaNetballChamps | #TasteTheMoment | #Twizza | #TakingNetballBackToThePeople | @Twizza_ZA pic.twitter.com/kmlfOCnKPK — Netball South Africa (@Netball_SA) September 20, 2023
Mount Ayliff (EC)
Mhluzi Young Fighters (MP)
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Hot Babes (KZN)
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Mogodi Hot Pirates (LP)
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