BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
Premier Netball League (PNL) chief executive officer Freedom Tivagare has described the tournament that was played in Bulawayo at the weekend as a success.
After months on the sidelines due to COVID-19 control measures, the game resumed with a one-day tournament that featured 18 teams.
Tivagare said despite preparation challenges due to the COVID-19-induced lockdowns, the teams put up a competitive and exciting show.
“The tournament was great and all teams and the PNL were excited. Out of 20 teams that showed interest, 18 managed to come, which is a good outcome,” he said.
“We had great competitive games and despite COVID-19-induced lockdowns the competition has witnessed great talent in netball.”
League secretary-general Liberty Mhizha was also satisfied with the tournament, which was a big step towards the restart of the league.
“The interaction and competition was healthy and a great eye opener to both the executive and teams which participated in the launch after a lay-off of more than 18 months,” he said.
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“It was not an individual effort to success, but so many people put in countless hours in preparing for this launch tournament, which was a culmination from the 10th of September 2021 media launch. Without the teams’ willingness to embark on this great journey to professionalism, the launch would have come to naught.
“From the launch tournament, it was evident that participants had really looked forward to playing again, and with the level of compliance to regulations set by the government through SRC [Sport and Recreation Commission], one could tell that anything for the sport is possible as long as it afforded us time to play.”
Platinum Queens won the tournament after defeating Goldreef 26-16 in their final match, while Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took third place.
Platinum Queens coach Simbarashe Mlambo was pleased to see his team claim honours.
“I’m very excited about winning the competition, we are making it a habit of winning. The competition was very tough, especially the semi-final and the finals,” Mlambo said.
“It was an excellent performance from the team, it was a team effort. I’m quite confident that these guys will shine this season and they just proved how much they are vying to win and it was purely platinum play.
“However, we needed a bit of fitness because we got two major injuries, but with a bit of therapy and exercise, I hope they will heal soon”
The league is set to run its games up to November in a bubble and the fixtures are set to be published soon.
Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo