By Magreth Ruzvidzo
Seventeen netball teams of the 20 Rainbow Amateur Netball League (RANL) have confirmed their participation in the upcoming 2021 season, with the other three struggling to obtain funding.
Although the dates for the resumption have not been set yet, all the participating teams were given the go ahead to start training strictly adhering to COVID-19 regulations.
The teams that have confirmed participation include ZDF, Khami, Correctional Queens, Beta, Golden Valley, Green Buffaloes, Black Rhinos, Ngezi Platinum, Goldreef, Platinum, Green Fuel, Mambas, Tenax, Support Unit, Mutare City, Glow and Lusumbani.
The league was disrupted last year by the COVID-19 pandemic while it was in its third week after government halted all sporting events and other social gatherings.
RANL secretary-general Moses Gukurume confirmed that three teams looked set to miss out this year, while the teams that guaranteed their participation were asked to give their input and plans for the new season.
He said most teams were struggling to get sponsorship.
“The challenge facing these teams in their preparations is mainly sponsorship and lack of proper infrastructure. We do not have proper netball courts in the country. This is because the girl child is still marginalised in the sports arena unlike the males,” Gukurume said.
He added that there was need for more media coverage for the sport to be more attractive.
Marginalisation of female sporting activities has been widely reported on, especially regarding sponsorship and media coverage.
While individual teams have been struggling for sponsorship, the league itself has over the last few years enjoyed good financial backing.
In December 2019, Glow Petroleum announced a sponsorship package of $11 million for the 2020 season which at the time was an equivalent of US$500 000.
The league only lasted three weeks and the teams could not benefit from the huge sponsorship package.
The league has since submitted its budget and its awaiting response from sponsors.
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