As much as they’d like to also jump on the podium and collect Olympic medals, they will only be able to do so once their sporting code is endorsed as an Olympic one.
Netball is considered a Commonwealth and not an Olympic sport, and this is troubling the powers that be who are currently working on making sure the sport gets the Olympic nod.
Netball South Africa (NSA) president Mimi Mthethwa said the International Netball Federation (INF) was hard at work in an effort to get the sport registered for the global competition.
Said Mthethwa: “One of the criteria we have to meet is to get more countries to play netball, which is something that we’re close to achieving because there are about 85 countries playing the sport.
“But another requirement is that there has to be men who play netball as well. It’s a difficult requirement to meet, but the mother body is working hard on it.”
Mthethwa said the lack of proper structures was delaying the growth of netball.
She added that there also had to be international netball tournaments for the IOC to have the sporting code accepted.
“We know that there are other countries that want to start netball for men, and in South Africa we have given our males a platform.
“We also know that other countries in Africa play it too, but it has to be properly structured. Once that is done we can have international competitions. We cannot be recognised if it’s only in Africa.”
Mthethwa lauded the growth of the Spar National Netball Championships, which kicked off on Monday at Hoy Park in Durban.
NSA and sponsors Spar also extended their partnership for a further four years to the tune of R35 million.
Free State beat Gauteng 49-47 in their match played yesterday.