The introduction of the MTC Namibia Netball Premier League (NNPL) last year was not only a monumental turning point in the overall transformation of local netball but has uplifted livelihoods.
In 2021, telecommunications giant MTC announced that it will become the principal sponsor of the 12-team national netball league with a cash injection of N$4.8 million over three years. The sponsorship has benefited 165 players, who all hail from various regions of the country.
With this financial boost, the league is now able to play almost every other weekend in different towns of the country and that has helped Netball Namibia (NN) in fulfilling its core objective of taking the sport of netball closer to the masses.
The frequent weekend action has also gone a long way in according players much-needed game time and exposure at the highest level of the local game.
MTC’s financing has also changed the financial status of the league, with players now earning a monthly wage of between N$600 to N$1 200. That marks a significant step in the right direction, especially for a league that previously had zero financial incentives for its players.
New Era Sport recently caught up with some of the players plying their trade in the county’s topflight netball league, who all expressed gratitude and contentment with the many opportunities the league continues to offer them.
Mighty Gunners captain Gola Uahongora expressed appreciation to MTC and NN for putting the players’ interests at the heart of their partnership. She highlighted that the league has brought lots of positivity, as it now keeps the young players away from many social ills.
“We are thankful as players because we are now getting small monthly grants and that goes a long way to help our families and ourselves as well. All thanks really go to MTC for making it possible as their arrival has made a difference in our lives,” said an appreciative Uahongora, who is also a regular for the national senior side.
“Even playing every other weekend has been great to the players and equally good for the fans countrywide, who now get to enjoy the game they love the most. This is also an opportunity for other sponsors to come on board and sponsor individual clubs as well. They must come and join MTC because local netball is on the move.”
Wakashala Hambeleleni of Rebels Netball Club added that the league has helped them in so many different ways, especially with finding their purpose and reigniting their netball careers.
“The salaries we get monthly have also made a little difference in our lives as players. The amount might be small to some but for most players, it means a lot. We thank our sponsor MTC for enabling us to buy for ourselves little things such as airtime and cosmetics without hustling that much,” said Hambeleleni.
“The exposure we have gotten from the league is of great importance, we are able to compete at the highest level and it keeps on getting better. More talent is being discovered through this league and I say the league has done wonders for a lot of participants,” she said.
Grootfontein Netball Club skipper Chantel Louw said despite the money not being enough, they remain grateful for the platform the league has created for them to showcase their talents, adding that the sport has also gained prominence since MTC’s sponsorship.
“It’s a great platform for us to showcase our talents. So many talented players have been discovered through this league. I think that’s the most important thing despite the monetary incentives being a bit less. We are hoping the league will grow from here.” - firstname.lastname@example.org