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Semi-pro netball league launched

Netball South Africa says the competition will run over a five-week period from 10 May to 7 June.

Netball South Africa have launched the Nedbank Cup, Africa's first semi-professional netball league. Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - Netball South Africa on Wednesday launched Africa's first ever semi-professional league.

In a first for the sport of netball in the country, the Netball Cup incorporates 10 teams from all nine provinces.

The league runs over a five-week period from 10 May to 7 June.

The competition structure pits the five strongest provincial teams against each other in Division One.

The rest of the teams are from Division Two, within a relegation and promotion system in place.

All matches will be staged at the University of Pretoria's Rembrandt Hall and will be broadcast live throughout the competition.

Netball SA President Mimi Mthethwa said the first ever Netball Cup gives sportswomen a platform to inspire the next generation of female sports stars.

"It ensures that they [women] are also given the opportunity to grow in sport, and become role models and true ambassadors of the country. Netball is played by the masses. It is the only real access to physical activity and engagement for thousands of women and children."

The Netball Cup has attracted considerable interest from sponsors, with South African Breweries (SAB), Powerade, Gilbert, Tsogo Sun Hotels and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) supporting the competition.

Mthethwa says Netball South Africa is humbled by the enthusiasm shown by both sponsors and the Department of Sports and Recreation.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome SAB to netball. They are a highly respected company, and one of the main sponsors of sport and sports development programmes in our country."

SAB Executive Director of Strategy and Business Support Yolanda Cuba said the company supports the advancement of women in sport as part of its commitment to society.