The Eagles Netball Club brought all their big guns and probably their strongest side out to play for a win at all costs in the first ever Saul Mkhizeville Netball Cup tournament. The inaugural tournament featured seven (7) teams all coming from different areas of Mkhondo Local Municipality. The club from Phola Park in Thandukukhanya Township defeated the hosts Rockstar NC 8-3 after dominating the game which played two halves of 10 minutes each at Lindelani Playing Courts, Saul Mkhizeville.
The first phase of the tournament was a point system with teams divided into two groups. The Eagles were drawn in group A along with Mkhondo Netball Cup champions Troublemakers NC and Flying Angels NC (formerly known as Bushman Band) both from Iswepe. The Eagles defeated Flying Angels NC 8 - 0 in the first match. They met Troublemakers NC in the 2nd game, a team that beat them 17-13 in the semi-finals of Mkhondo Netball Cup in March. They got their revenge when they defeated Troublemakers 12 - 6 in the 2nd group match to book a place in the semi finals.
"Netball has caught the "Akukadlalwa, kusazodlalwa" fever that has been associated with soccer in Mkhondo."
Group B had four teams made up Rockstar NC, Young Rockstar, Fire Angels (all from Saul Mkhizeville) and Philasiphile from Iswepe. Rockstar NC and their development side emerged as winners of group B. Rockstar comfortably beat home girls Young Rockstar 10 - 3 and Fire Angels 15 - 5 but had to work hard in the 9-7 win over Philasiphile NC from Iswepe. Fire Angels were the whipping girls of the group losing all their matches. Young Rockstar lost against Rockstar and won 9-4 against Fire Angels and a hard fought 10-8 victory over Philasiphile.
In the semi-finals Rockstar met the 2019 Mkhondo Netball Cup champions Troublemakers for the first time since the revival of netball in Mkhondo. The two teams played an exciting 20 minutes of netball which was a battle of experience and new blood.
The experienced Rockstar were no match for the young Troublemakers team, defeating them 14 - 9 to book a place in the final. In the 2nd semi-final the more determined and strong Eagles side were no match for the Young Rockstars. They easily beat them 11 - 4 to book a place in the final with the senior Rockstars.
The Eagles NC were just too strong in this tournament. They had experienced players in the team which included two players who regularly play in the provincial KZN Super League. Rockstar also had their experienced players but they were no match to the more determined Eagles team. The final score finished 11 - 3 in the match which was dominated by the Eagles. The Eagles were fresher than their opponents who had played one match more during the group stages. It was no surprise that they were crowned the inaugural champions of the Saul Mkhizeville Netball Cup. They will also dominate the local netball scene if they continue to play as they did in this tournament.
The players enjoyed themselves and have asked the organisers and Mkhondo Sports council to organise more games to keep active. The newly elected Mkhondo Netball Federation executive committee has a tough task in making sure netball is active in the area jurisdiction of the Mkhondo Local Municipality. Netball in Mkhondo has caught the "Akukadlalwa, kusazodlalwa" fever that has been highly influenced by football matches in the area.