Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
RAINBOW Amateur Netball League secretary-general Moses Gukurume has said their aim is to professionalise their league.
They have been seeking to affiliate to the Zimbabwe Netball Association.
However, ZINA have been dragging their feet in recognising and registering the league.
“Our main thrust in the coming season is to vigorously engage the powers-that-be so that we are properly registered to play as professionals that we are,” said Gukurume.
The Sports Commission have ordered that the splinter league should be registered by the national association and allowed to run independently.
Gukurume said the ball was now in their court to ensure they run their affairs in a professional manner that will complement efforts being made by their sponsor, Glow Petroleum, in promoting the sport.
The league will be entering its third season next year and in a sign of confidence, their principal sponsor injected a whopping $11 million sponsorship for the 2020 season.
“The injection of such a huge amount of money as sponsorship is an exciting and very challenging development inas faras netball is concerned,’’ said Gukurume.
“This may be the highest that the sport has received in its history.
“It then requires that we, as RANL management, pull up our socks to diligently manage this substantial amount of money.
“It requires planning and, in some cases, consulting other professionals to assist in other areas of expertise.’’
Reflecting on the 2019 season, some of the challenges the league faced included failure by some of clubs to fulfil their matches.
The league, which had 18 teams competing this year, is set to feature 20 next year.
“Our 2020 season will begin, if all things go according to plan, in March 2020 after our AGM,’’ said Gukurume.
“Our league will have 20 national league teams.
“We are still working on the model of relegation and we have since written to teams in the league to give us a commitment that they have sound sponsorship that will allow them to travel to fulfil their away games.
“There are teams that managed to finish top of their Division One but are indicating they are unwilling to accept promotion due to the prohibitive costs involved, especially in travelling.
“So, it is after the evaluation of that process that we are able to give a clear position. That information will be availed soon,” Gukurume said. There was also an outcry on the officiating of some games.
“I wish to say that most of our courts are, indeed, not up to international standards and we are engaging our teams to have facilities such as toilets and changing rooms.
“We are fully cognisant that it won’t be easy, considering our economic environment, and also that we are trying to reach the most disadvantaged of our communities.
“We salute efforts made by teams such as Ngezi Platinum, which have such facilities.
“The mandate to train umpires is a preserve of ZINA as the mother body. However, as our sponsor alluded to at the awards ceremony, we are making plans to improve our umpires by conducting workshops within RANL, which might involve international officials.’’