Gauteng Netball president, Khosi Dlamini says the province wants to do away with the inequalities in the province.
There are five districts in Gauteng and only two of those are dominant when it comes to the sport.
Tshwane and Johannesburg are always found at the top, even when competing in national tournaments such as Spar National Netball Championships. Sedibeng, Ekurhuleni, and the West Rand are the other districts in the province.
Having a number of players in high performance centres in universities and subsequently, some of the leading Telkom Netball League teams, give rise to the two districts to dominate the province.
The birth of the Gauteng Netball Super League is an attempt to create a balance while making sure that the province creates more stars who will hopefully one day represent the country on an international stage.
Dlamini says the administration that took over the reign in March 2022 saw the importance of making Gauteng stronger as a whole.
“When we came in we saw that the five districts are not equal. Some districts are very high in competition with elite players and so on because they have got universities, the other three were down.
They (players) couldn’t even make TNL teams, the (Gauteng Golden) Fireballs, and (Gauteng) Jaguars, it’s the two districts that are dominating all the time.
I said what is it that we can do to expose our players and also try to get them to play against teams that are stronger. Then we said a Super League, maybe if we can have the league in Gauteng where all these five districts come together and compete, the standard would be high,” says Dlamini.
The federation was looking more than just improving competition with the five regions but they also would like to see the officiating turn for the better.
“We want to professionalise the league by making use of umpires that have got grading, and play in better courts than those that we have, especially in the three districts. As much as Ekurhuleni is a metro, they don’t have courts,” she explains.
Dlamini says the competition stresses the importance of development and clubs have to have players who are under the age of 21 when they register. She reckons that this move will ensure that the competing teams will have proper succession plans when it comes to playing personnel which may increase the selection pool for national selectors for various competitions.
“Clubs can register a maximum of 20 players and five of those have to be Under-21 when playing on the court, it must be five-two and if you don’t have Under-21 players on the court, you lose the match.
This is to ensure that these players when they graduate to being seniors, would have the experience of playing in a provincial league. There are two teams that have been selected that are part of the 20 teams in the league, the Junior Jaguars and the Junior Fireballs, both Under-21 teams.
We thought that we need a feeder for the two TNL teams that will compete in the Super League. We want to give them the experience and confidence so that we have a crop that can feed into the two teams. We can see that they are hungry to be part of the seniors,” she says.
The competition will also have a men’s division but also the federation felt it was important to have a division that accommodates players over the age of 40 who still want to take the court in a competition setup. All five districts will get a chance to host matches throughout the competition.
“Our MEC for health (Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko) preaches wellness, we’ve got soccer that is played by women who are over 60 (years old), so we saw that the coaches that are 40(years old) and above are not doing anything, let us introduce (a division) for wellness purposes,” she says.
Dlamini hopes that the province will continue being a dominant force in the country, especially with the TNL kicking off in April. Both Fireballs and Jaguars played in last year’s final which ended with the Johannesburg team winning their first title.
“We want to see development across the five districts. We want to see the performance of the three teams to equate the other two. The two must keep on shining because they have got a way of doing it, they have the support of universities and there are sponsors too.
We want to groom the coaches as well. The vision is to uplift the three and as the five districts we will share everything and we will see from where the trophy will come,” she says.