NETBALL in Namibia received a big boost with the launch of the MTC Namibia Netball Premier League in Windhoek yesterday.
The league forms part of a N$4,8 million sponsorship over three years by MTC with the aim of establishing a professional league that will incorporate all the regions of Namibia.
At yesterday’s launch, Netball Namibia’s vice president of marketing and sponsorships, Rebecca Goagoses said it was a dream come true.
“It’s a dream come true for the Namibian netball fraternity and we are deeply honoured to get such a wonderful gift from MTC, you have no idea what this means to us,” she said.
“Netball has become more visible with many international tournaments and we want to be part of the high table. The more international matches we play the better we will become – we want to run like a business and we want to produce the best players to export to countries like Australia and New Zealand,” she added.
“We are inspired by our women’s hockey team that qualified for the World Cup as well as by our young athletes Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, and we aspire to do the same with netball. Our big dream is to take our rightful place at the Netball World Cup,” she said.
Tim Ekandjo of MTC said it was a great opportunity for them to invest and grow the sport.
“MTC did not come to the rescue of netball, it’s rather netball that came to the rescue of MTC and allowed us to invest in this very important sport code and in the dreams of so many young players.
“We have a clear vision for netball over the next three years – it’s to bring stability and to make sure that we have a fully professional league. We want to make sure that each player becomes a professional player like in football, and gone are the days that we give N$5 million or so to soccer and peanuts to netball,” he said.
A total of 12 teams from various regions will compete in the inaugural league which starts at the United courts tonight.
The top two teams from the Khomas, Erongo and Otjozondjupa leagues of 2019 have qualified, as well as another six teams that qualified via zonal play-offs held last month.
The teams are Namibia Correctional Services and Tigers from Khomas; Navy and Eleven Arrows from Erongo; Grootfontein and Mighty Gunners from Otjozondjupa; Young Stars and Rebels from Omusati; Rundu Chiefs and Dollar Stars from Kavango East; United 12 from Karas and Golden Girls from Omaheke.
The winning team will receive N$45 000, with the runner-ups receiving N$35 000 and the third-placed team N$25 000.
Each team will also receive N$60 000 to cover operational costs like transport and accommodation, while they have also been encouraged to sign contracts and to pay their players.