The recently revamped playing courts in Thokozani hosted the first ever Mkhondo Netball cup tournament on Saturday 16 March 2019 at Thokozani Sports Centre, Thandukukhanya, Mkhondo. Troublemakers NC beat Hostel 16 -11 in a fast paced final to become the first ever netball club to win the tournament established to encourage and develop of netball in Mkhondo.
Troublemakers NC surprised everyone with their ball skills to win the inaugural tournament beating newly established team Hostel in the final. The unfancied side lost their first game 13-24 ironically to the runners-up Hostel at the group stages. The young team played with determination after losing the first match. They demolished Fire Angels NC 27-8 to finish 2nd in the group which had been reduced to two matches per team due to time constraints. They proved themselves beyond doubt in the semi-finals when they defeated experienced side Eagles NC by 17-13. The semi-final match was won by the youngest and shortest player on the field Amahle Nxumalo who scored the most number of points.
In the final Troublemakers met another determined side in Hostel NC who played a pressing and fast game under the tutelage of a strict and disciplinarian coach Sabelo Nkosi who was assisted by Phiwokuhle Dlamini. The young Hostel side surprised everyone in the semi-final when they defeated the well experienced Rockstar NC of Saul Mkhizeville 14 – 11 to set up a mouth-watering final of rookies with unfancied Troublemakers. The team is at an early developmental stage they did not even have a name before the tournament began. They ended up calling themselves Hostel because the majority of the players live at the hostel residences in Sgodiphola, Thandukukhanya.
“We knew were going to win this cup after playing the first game. We lost to the first match because our players were nervous due to playing here for the first time,” said team captain Cindy Nxumalo.
The two sides played like their lives depended on winning the final but in reality a brand new kit, trophies, medals and pride coupled with the tag of being the first ever champions of Mkhondo Netball Cup was the real prize. Troublemakers played liked a well-oiled machine using their centre (CA) to initiate all their attacks using their GA to score important goals helped by good combination play with the GS. They managed to score quick points taking the match to 9-4 at half time. Hostel tried to come back in the 2nd half but their GS Nomonde was starting to show signs of tiredness which made her miss some crucial goals. The difference between the two sides was that Troublemakers took all their chances which were scored mostly buy the shortest player on the field Amahle Nxumalo who also won top shooter of the tournament. The final match finished 16 – 11 to Troublemakers.
The action on the field was pleasing to watch and very encouraging for netball development. The display led to Mr Jabulani Mabuyakhulu of Super Falcons to fetch his trophies at home to give out as individual awards. “I love what am seeing here the girls are playing very good netball. I will donate some of my trophies that we will give to top performing players,” said Mabuyakhulu while handing over the trophies and putting them on the table next to the other prizes. The prize giving was memorable as the players and teams were awarded their prizes for participating in the tournament.
The first winner to be announced was the best shooter of the tournament won by Amahle Nxumalo of Troublemakers NC, she walked away with a trophy. Sphesihle Nkosi who played Centre for Hostel won a trophy as the best player of the tournament. In the clubs awards Eagles NC finished in 3rd place via a walkover after Rockstar NC left immediately after losing to Hostel in the semi-final. They received bronze medals and a match ball. The runners up Hostel NC received a trophy, silver medals and a match ball. The big winners in the day Troublemakers won themselves a trophy, silver medals, match ball and a brand new kit for winning the first ever Mkhondo Netball Cup.
The amount of talent at the tournament was unbelievable for a place that rarely hosts netball matches. The players were so determined to show whoever was watching that they know how to play ball and if given a chance they can go far with the game.
It was a truly productive day in sports development eMkhondo. Netball fans got to watch seven (7) locally based netball clubs playing the first ever Mkhondo Netball Cup. The amount of talent seen at the tournament was unbelievable for a place that rarely hosts netball matches. The players were so determined to show whoever was watching that they know how to play ball and if given a chance they can go far with the game. Rockstar coach Mr Sbonelo Mkhwanazi talked about a possible tournament to be played at Saul Mkhizeville next month but would not divulge the details until all was confirmed.