Minister launches Netball Diamond Challenge
With a first prize of R250 000, the newly announced four-nation Netball Diamond League is set to become an iconic event in African Netball, and shows the sport is serious about enhancing its profile and image.
The competition, in which South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, and Botswana will be taking part, is the brainchild of Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula and Netball South Africa.
At the launch of the Challenge Minister Mbalula said that not only will the Challenge be a showcase for Netball in South Africa, but will also be a platform for women's rights and the building of relationships with the competing African nations.
Netball's fortunes have recently been improving after they beat long-time foes Jamaica for the first time in 45 years.
Several speakers at the event invited business representatives present to consider sponsorship of Netball not only in the light of its recent successes but also since it was the largest female sport, and second largest overall sport in South Africa.
Mr Mbalula also said that a professional Netball league was soon to be announced, putting South Africa on par with countries like Australia, who have had professional competitions for some time.
A special, faster form of Netball called Fast Five was also recently launched internationally. South Africa will be competing in the first competition of this new style later this year.
The Diamond Challenge will take place in Women's Month, from August 11-18 2012.