TNL growing into one of best leagues

The Telkom Netball League (TNL) is in its sixth season and over the years we have witnessed the growth of, not only the league but the sport of netball going through an evolution of its own.

The TNL has become a platform for some of the best players in the country to display their talents – many have been identified and picked to play for the national team, the Spar Proteas, and the under 21’s the Baby Spar Proteas.

South Africa currently has total of nine players plying their trade in England and New Zealand and all of them have featured in the TNL.

Now some of SA’s global superstars are coming back home to play in the TNL. Former SPAR Proteas player, Phumza Maweni who is now the assistant coach for the Baby Spar Proteas, returned home after a four-year stint in the Suncorp Super League in Australia and joined the Southern Stings before retiring as a player.

“Having played with some of the best players in the world and in a professional set-up, I can attest to the fact that the Telkom Netball League is just as competitive.

“I can safely conclude that we have the best semi-professional netball league, and we can be proud of what we have here.

“Others thought because I have all the international experience, I would just walk into the starting seven, I had to earn my place like any other player because it is that competitive.

“We can give a few teams in Australia and England a run for their money with our TNL teams,” said Maweni.

Another notable returnee to the Telkom Netball League is Zanele Vimbela – she is coming back for the second time after two stints in England.

She came back for the first time in 2020 and joined the Gauteng Fireballs after a year in the UK. She left shortly after the 2020 season and made a return to South Africa again in 2024 to join the reigning champions, Jaguars.

“It is good to be back and must admit that it is a different competitive environment – abroad we played weekly and here back at home we are playing daily, games are faster, and one needs to adjust to it as quickly as possible, I think I have settled in though,” Vimbela said.

“There is a lot that we can do to improve the game and the format, for example play weekly and include gym and training sessions in between.

“This will help with keeping players well conditioned. Hopefully as we turn professional, such things will be implemented. One thing that I think we should explore is more exposure to teams as well.”

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