The University of Namibia (UNAM) main netball team was crowned champions of the Khomas Netball Region (KNR) season-opening netball tournament last Saturday at the Trustco United Netball Courts in Olympia.
UNAM won the eight-team tournament that was contested by Namibia Correctional Services (Prison), Afrocat Lions, Tigers, NamPol, NUST, United and Wanderers.
The KNR defending champions finished the tournament on 19 points - the same number as second placed team, Prison – but their superior goal difference of 47 compared to Prison’s 24 saw them clinch the floating trophy.
UNAM are coached by national team coach, Manuelle ‘Mansie’ Tjivera, who also led the team to the KNR title last year and in 2015.
Wanderers finished the tournament last with three points, the same as United who were in seventh place.
The annual tournament is a curtain raiser to the KNR League that will start with its new season this Saturday.
Black Africa, who finished bottom in the premier division, withdrew because of lack of players and was replaced by Okahandja Military School.
Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) also took part in the competition after gaining promotion from the first division last year.
Black Africa will now only have teams in the first division and second division this season.
The KNR also announced a new executive committee for the next three years that will be headed by chairperson Melody Mogane-Tiboth, Esther Mbathera (vice-chairperson), Conny Samaria (secretary general), Anne Otto (treasurer),Mwatire Uyumba (public relations officer), Dimitri Bittler (fixture secretary), Riana Mutendere (vice fixtures secretary), George Vries (coaches representative) and Monique van Zyl (umpires representative).
Samaria said Namibia Correctional Services and Okahandja Military School were promoted to the premier division on recommendation from the executive committee.
“There is nothing wrong with it as long they (two clubs) pay their registration fees. The other reason why the two teams are allowed to join the premier division is because they applied to play in the premier division because of the players they got from teams that are playing already in the premier division and we (the executive committee) felt that it would not be a good idea to have them in the second division because that league is for our development.
“We thought that it would be unfair to have premier league or former premier league players of that quality playing in the lower division,” Samaria said.
Despite NUST being promoted to the premier division this season after they won the first division, Samaria emphasized that the league currently does not have promotion and relegation rules in place.
“Currently, we do not have relegation and a promotion rules. NUST gained promotion because they won the first division. We are going to introduce relegation and promotion this season depending on the number of teams in the premier and first divisions.
“The premier division now has nine teams after BA withdrew because we wanted to have at least 10 teams so that we have two teams relegated and two teams promoted in all leagues,” Samaria said.
The teams in the premier division currently are UNAM main, Afrocat Lions, Tigers, United, NamPol, Wanderers, Prisons, NUST and Okahandja Military School.
The winner in the premier, first and second division normally receive N$ 1000, second placed team N$700 and third placed team N$300 each.
The KNR makes use of the club’s registration fees for the end of the year prizes as they still do not have a sponsor, but the new executive committee is already hard at work trying to secure sponsorship.
First National Bank (FNB) Namibia sponsored the trophies and medals.