Another big entry has been received for the SPAR Madibaz netball tournament which takes place in Port Elizabeth from Friday to Sunday.
Seen as the opening event of the Eastern Province season, the Nelson Mandela University club will host at least 80 teams as the popularity of the tournament continues to soar.
Madibaz Sport netball manager Melinda Goosen said she was amazed each year at the remarkable interest in the event.
“This tournament has grown exponentially over the past five years from a one-day event to a three-day tournament for the first time this year,” she said.
“We have gone from 48 teams to a record number of 80 entries last year in the biggest club tournament in the country.”
The tournament, she added, was initiated in the days when Mandela University was still split into UPE and Technikon.
“Both institutions had special netball tournaments in the Drieka Nortje Memorial [Technikon] and the Irma du Preez Memorial [UPE].
“When we became NMMU [Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University] it changed to one tournament and was just called the NMMU Memorial tournament in respect for the ladies mentioned above.
“Over the years, this has evolved into the SPAR Madibaz Netball Tournament, starting on Saturday morning and ending that evening. Now we have to extend it to three days.
“It has always been a tournament that takes place early in the netball season and for the past seven years it has been seen as the opening-of-the-season tournament in Nelson Mandela Bay’s netball calendar.”
A total of five sections will contest the women’s competition, while provision is also made for a men’s division.
Goosen said the tournament was perfectly positioned to provide insight into the various clubs’ player resources for the season.
“Coaches love to play in this tournament due to the number of teams they can enter, giving them a chance to assess their players against some of the best clubs around.”