Chante Bester, captain of North West Flames, looks for an opportunity past Kgomoeadira Kealeboga, of the Northern Cape Diamonds during the 2017 Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League. Photo: Gerard Duraan/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The fifth edition of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League will start on Friday with players still not knowing what they will get as incentive.

The sponsorship manager of Africa of Ab InBev, Fetsi Mbele, said they are in the process of finalising everything before the tournament starts, while new Netball South Africa (NSA) president Cecelia Molokwane said players will know what they are getting before the tournament ends.

“The onus is upon all partners to say: ‘With everything that we've got, what are the necessities to put in for the players,’ hence the amount of what we are going to give the players per month or at the end as winners. We haven’t finalised that, it is work in progress with NSA”, said Mbele at the launch in Sandton yesterday.

“We strive for the sport to be at the professional level and for players to be paid - it is important to them. They can’t be playing for free. We are trying to work out, from a commercial structure, what we can give out to the players ... 

"When we finalise and agree on those numbers with everyone, (we will then reveal) what the players will receive as incentive or their winnings. It also keeps players at ease knowing that they can go 100 percent into the tournament without having doubts if they are going to get allowance or not,” Mbele continued.

Molokwane, however, was more circumspect in her assessment, saying: “We are getting there ... The tournament will definitely start without any incentive.”

The president continued, revealing she expects fun, excitement and better performance in this year’s edition. “I can’t wait for the Friday," she enthused, "I think it’s going to be more fun. We are going to choose the President’s XII that is going to compete in the Africa qualifiers, even though we’ve qualified as the No 5 in the world. We want to take young talent to also make sure that we beef up Proteas."

Despite all the uncertainty, coach of the reigning champions, Jenny van Dyk, said her team had a great pre-season.

“Yes, we’ve been training well together as a team and preparing some of the girls for the Commonwealth Games also helped us in our training sessions. It was a privilege to prepare some of our players for the Games and it helped us to lift our country as well. That is the bigger picture."

The first game will see KwaZulu-Natal Kingdom Stars take on Northern Cape Diamonds on Friday at 4pm, while Free State Crinums will face Mpumalanga Sunbirds in the second match at 6pm, both at Ellis Park Indoor Arena.

The Star

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