Having lost only one match in the pool stages, Gauteng Central coach Martha Mosoahle was furious after she discovered yesterday morning her players would need to turn out in a quarterfinal.
The original schedule indicated that there would be no last-eight stage and the top two sides in each of the pools would progress automatically to the semifinals.
“You can’t change the programme at this stage. We have to work towards a plan,” Mosoahle said. “It’s not fair, and it’s bad for the image of netball to change the programme during a national tournament.
“I only heard this morning from a friend that it had changed.”
Dorette Badenhorst, the coach of North West district side Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who went unbeaten in the group stages to finish top of Pool 2, was equally upset. Badenhorst said she had been informed of the change by a member of the media during an interview yesterday afternoon. She believed it was unfair to make teams play in quarterfinals and semifinals on the same day.
“This affects us terribly,” Badenhorst said.
“When you get to the tournament you plan according to the schedule, and then the day before you hear that you have to play a quarterfinal. The whole tournament starts all over again on the second last day.
“You can’t go back on a decision like this. These decisions should have been made long ago.”
Netball SA president Mimi Mthethwa said the decision to play quarterfinals had been made after Umgungundlovu had been added to the A-section, and the teams were split into two pools. The six-team pools were confirmed before the start of the tournament, however, while the play-off changes were made on Tuesday, and team managers were informed on Wednesday.
In today’s quarterfinals, Dr Kenneth Kaunda will face Buffalo City, Gauteng Central will meet Nelson Mandela Bay, Frances Baard will play Mangaung Metro, and Pool 1 winners Gauteng North, the defending champions, will square off against Umgungundlovu.