Some celebrities turned up to the Val Fowler basketball tournament at Girls’ High School in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
The event is a 32-team tournament at their school, culminating with the finals on Saturday.
Former president Jacob Zuma’s wife, Thobeka Madiba-Zuma, and daughter, Nqobile Zuma, were at the tournament on Friday.
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Previous principal, Valerie Fowler, after whom the prestigious tournament is named, said that it has grown astronomically since she founded it.
I started in 1991 and I coached the first team for all those years. I coached and ran the tournament. Before I retired, they said that the tournament needs to have a name because, before this, it was called the Girls’ High Invitational Tournament and then it was named in my name. The most fantastic thing is that it has carried on. It is amazing that girls from across the country and from Swaziland come and play basketball here.
“For the first couple of years, it was only ‘Maritzburg and Durban schools and then, slowly, you have contact with the different provinces, people leave Maritzburg, the word spreads and people want to come to the tournament. It has really grown. It is very exciting to have 32 teams playing. We are very lucky to use GHS and Maritzburg College here, so we have two good facilities,” she said.
Fowler added that the tournament is well structured.
“I think the turnout is great and that having excellent refs and table officials makes it a top class tournament. And also having Supersport on board is great,” she said.
Passion for sports
Fowler added that her passion for the sport came while she was at university.
“When I started teaching, I thought there is something here. No one in [the then] Natal played basketball and the boys had started before us and they had interprovincial and SA schools, so we started too.
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We had an interprovincial tournament before this tournament started. We had teams from Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape and it slowly grew and grew.
“I coached a lot of sports, but this is my passion,” she said.