Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
7 Dec 2021
5:46 pm

Netball team lose points after falling short of racial targets

Wesley Botton

The results reflected that Buffalo City officially won the match, but their penalty resulted in Ethekwini receiving the log points.

The Ethekwini netball team in a huddle during their match against Buffalo City at the National Netball Championships. Picture: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images

Though it might not mean much in the greater scheme of things, with Buffalo City looking set to battle for the wooden spoon, their playoff aspirations took a major knock yesterday after they were penalised for falling short of racial targets on day two of the Spar National Netball Championships in Cape Town.

While Buffalo City beat Ethekwini 43-38, they were docked six points for failing to field at least two white players on court.

According to the tournament’s transformation rules: “Fielding of players should be 2/5 or 3/4 on court all the time. Failing that, the team will be considered non-compliant and will be expected to win with six goals or more.”

ALSO READ: Cape Winelands step forward at national netball champs

As such, while the results reflected that Buffalo City officially won the match, their penalty resulted in Ethekwini receiving the log points.

“That’s not the way I ever want to win, so in my mind it’s not a game we actually won,” said Ethekwini coach Marguerite Rootman.

“But we do have a target system and we do have to adhere to it, so we’ll take the points, but the team didn’t play well at all.”

Despite losing crucial points, Buffalo City coach Zandile Njeza was pleased with her team’s performance after three players and a coach from the OR Tambo district – also in the Eastern Cape – had died in a bus accident on the way to the event.

ALSO READ: Four remain in critical condition after fatal netball accident

“Our strategy today was to make sure the girls enjoyed themselves on court because we had heavy hearts coming to the tournament and it hasn’t been easy,” Njeza said.

“We wanted to play for our (provincial) teammates that didn’t make it here and we wanted to win for them. This game was more for them than for us.”

Meanwhile, Cape Winelands secured their third straight victory in their derby clash against Cape Town, racking up a 52-44 win to stay top of the table in the race for this weekend’s playoffs.

Nelson Mandela Bay also remained undefeated, beating Johannesburg 59-41 in their second match of the tournament and settling in second place behind Winelands on the log, with a game in hand.