Young ambitious volunteers make history while keeping the sport of netball alive

Netball News Women in Sports

Young Volunteers make history by organizing a netball tournament in the dusty streets of their community

History was made when the first ever Netball tournament took place at the dusty grounds of Phola Park, Mkhondo. The tournament was played on a cool Sunday morning on the 1st November 2020 at one of the community recreational spaces in between the houses of Phola Park. The aim of the one day tournament was to encourage and introduce netball at Phola Park by the Mkhondo Netball Association working with local sport volunteers.

The three team tournament consisted of two teams from the newly formed Blue Birds NC based at Phola Park, not surprising considering they had more than fourty players at training before the tournament. They were up against regular participants in the local netball scenes Mkhondo Sundowns NC with experienced player Siphiwe Majara on its line-up.

"We saw that a lot of kids do nothing during their spare time and needed to be kept busy. We then approached the sports office at the municipality.”

The first ever match for the newly formed Blue Birds NC was a netball lesson that finished with a 3-7 loss to Mkhondo Sundowns. It was not a bad result for a newly formed team playing against a more experienced side. The next match featured the younger team from Blue Birds against Mkhondo Sundowns who did not change their starting line-up even though they were facing a younger side. The Young Blue Birds NC team struggled against the more experienced Mkhondo Sundowns team but learned valuable lessons of netball in a 9-1 loss.

Netball Development Games featuring newly formed Phola Park Blue Birds vs Mkhondo Sundowns played on Sunday 01 November 2020. It was the first time ever that a netball tournament took place at Phola Park, Thandukukhanya, eMkhondo. Picture: Thabiso Shabangu

The organisers and members of the Mkhondo Netball Association decided on a 3 game tournament with the final being played by Mkhondo Sundowns against the best of Blue Birds NC. Mkhondo Sundowns even though tired from a tournament played the previous day managed to win the 3rd game and final by 9 points to 3. The champions Mkhondo Sundowns received gold medals and Blue Birds NC received silver medals and a small trophy as token of appreciation.

The tournament was organised by sport volunteers Lindani Vundla together with friends Thabiso Shabangu and Sanele Madonsela. "We saw that a lot of kids do nothing during their spare time and needed to be kept busy. We then approached the sports office at the municipality. They introduced us to Mr Sbonelo Mkhwanazi and Siphiwe Majara of the (Mkhondo) Netball Association and managed to get us trophies and medals. The rest is history," said Lindani who originally serve in the Mkhondo Local Football Association.

He further said the community must expect more games like this in the future at Phola Park also known by its infamous name Kwantombazana. "Here in Kwantombazana alone there is a huge potential for netball due to the high number of children in the community. There will be more tournaments in future because we want to keep the children busy." There is no doubt about the potential of the sport in an area with a high number of children, teenagers, youth and young adults. After the games the Mkhondo Netball Association announced that there would be another netball development tournament to be staged at KwaThandeka Location in Amsterdam, Mkhondo. The developmental games will be played this Saturday 14 November 2020 at Emoyeni Stadium, Amsterdam in Mkhondo.

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