Johannesburg — Netball South Africa (NSA) made another historic announcement, when they promulgated that they have contracted players to the national team, the SPAR Proteas - the very first time such an agreement has been reached within the country.
With the 2023 Netball World Cup looming, NSA has made huge strides in recent months to move away from its amateur roots towards a more semi-professional organisation, with the view of becoming a fully professional sport in South Africa in the near future.
The latest move in that push was announced in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Tuesday when NSA revealed that 24 players have been signed on to the national association with new national contracts, which commenced as of April 1 this year.
“Over the past three years,” NSA president Cecilia Molokwane said via statement, "I have been speaking about the need for, and importance of, turning the sport professional.
This process, this moment right here, is edging us closer to that goal. Rome was never built in a day so even here, we will not attain success overnight. This is a work in progress. I am glad we are here, and we are starting with 24 players for now.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Proteas head coach Dorette Badenhorst.
“We are making history by having these players as the first group of contracted players in South Africa,” Badenhorst said.
“I believe we are on the right track and will make valuable progress towards turning netball professional with a move like this. I am happy with the players selected and looking forward to continuing developing each individual to create depth in our national squad, and to give them an opportunity at the big stage whenever they are at the appropriate level of readiness for international netball.
“As a country, we have a wealth of talent and I am excited for the new players in the squad and I am happy with the familiar faces in the squad as they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the group.”
The contracts will be performance based, and will allow the selected players to avail themselves for training camps and programmes without having to sacrifice their professional careers. Moreover, only seven of the 24 players are based overseas, with the majority playing currently in the ongoing Telkom Netball League.
Molokwane further revealed that the contracts do not mean the exclusion of players and that NSA are, "always looking at other players who should be contracted and it is therefore important that we give everyone a fair chance to be part of the team."
NSA’s contracted players: Khanyisa Chawane; Marlize de Bruin; Izette Griesel; Kamogelo Maseko; Tarle Mathe; Tshina Mdau; Nomfundo Mngomezulu; Bongiwe Msomi; Lungile Mthembu; Sesandile Ngubane; Refiloe Nketsa; Lenize Potgieter; Karla Pretorius; Lefébre Rademan; Monique Reyneke; Nicola Smith; Nicholé Taljaard; Elmeré van der Berg; Shadine van der Merwe; Jamie van Wyk; Ine-Marí Venter; Zanele Vimbela; Boitumelo Mahloko; Phumza Maweni