Netball is once again leading the way for Women’s sport with the announcement of an annual Netball Quad-series tournament to be played between Australia, South Africa, New Zealand & England.
To govern the tournament they have also announced the formation of SANZEA, an INF sanctioned body, which will have representatives from all 4 competing nations on its board. The importance of regular international fixtures outside of Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games years is recognised by the participating nations, who are united in their goal of developing a high profile and regular international competition.
Accelerate Sport from South Africa have been the named as SANZEA’s commercial agency and MD, Gary Grant, knows all about international sport having been Marketing Director at SARU during the formation of the then Tri Nations and SANZAR. He said “It is about time that women had an annual elite international competition in which they can showcase their skills on the world stage, Netball is the biggest women’s sport in the world and with the formation of the Netball Nations Cup we expect it to continue to grow even further.”
A lot of thought has gone into the development of the four nation tournament and the decision to include The Spar Proteas alongside perennial top 3 teams The Silver Ferns, England Roses and Australian Diamonds is down to the rapid improvement in South Africa’s play and the potential their players are starting to fulfil.
Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer endorsed South Africa’s ability “We saw during the Netball World Cup that South Africa has some exciting, young, emerging talent that will benefit from more regular exposure to competition against the world’s best. So it’s exciting to consider what this new partnership between the four nations will deliver.”
Netball South Africa President, Mimi Mthethwa has welcomed their inclusion “We are very proud to be part of the Inaugural tournament and believe that we have the talent in this country to compete with all 3 teams and prove ourselves to be genuine Commonwealth Games contenders in 2018!”
The competition takes place across two nations consecutively, with NZ and Australia hosts of the first leg in August and September 2016 and then South Africa and England in January and February 2017, with more information to be released as it becomes available.
New Zealand CEO Hilary Poole said the competition would set world netball on a new path to growth. “This partnership has the potential to change the face of international netball and is another big step towards building the depth of the game globally.”