Men’s netball to be revived this year
• By Michael Uugwanga
THE sport of netball is still perceived as a woman’s sport especially in Namibia, however this is set to change this year, starting with the Malie Snyman netball tournament which allows each female team to have a maximum of three men in a team and two men on court during a match.
The Malie Snyman netball tournament will take place on February 26 at the Wanderers netball courts in Windhoek.
Men still traditionally serve as officials, coaches and administrators in the sport of netball, particularly Namibia which is blessed to have some top male netball coaches that are thriving locally.
Some of the few top local netball coaches are Manuel ‘Mansie’ Tjivera who led the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) to the MTC Netball Premier League last year, Morney Pienaar coach of Tigers, Gone Musambani of Eleven Arrows, David Faustinus of Go Monate Fella, Lazarus Mungolo of Rebels and Dimitri Bittler, owner and coach of Afrocat Lions netball club.
African countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Malawi; and others such as Brunei, Canada, England, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have male national teams.
In order for Namibia to have a male national team that will be competing at regional, continental and international level it will need at least a male league, something that Bittler is busy with at his club that is set to hold male netball trials on Saturday at A. Shipena Secondary School in Windhoek.
In an interview with Confidente, Bittler said that having a male team is one of the requirements set out if a team wants to participate at the Olympics.
“In the past we had a male team but it was never given that platform to participate internationally. In order for netball to be recognised at the Olympics a country needs to have a male netball team just like in football and rugby, that you find female teams.
“Today we have coaches that were part of the male netball team that are currently helping out with coaching. First we need to start at club level before we go to regionals and then national.
“There have been people knocking on our doors (Afrocat) asking us why we do not have a male netball team, but we do have but only for social but now we want to make it professional.
“It is high time that we break the stigma attached to it through people seeing male netball. We have lots of talent even though the pool of players is small. Netball Namibia is also pushing for the establishment of men’s netball,” said Bittler.