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SA schoolgirls pick up valuable tips from Aussie aces
- Updated: October 17, 2014
Thirty Potchefstroom schoolgirls were given a unique opportunity as the Australian Centre of Excellence squad took time out from the SPAR International Netball Series to participate in a coaching clinic.
South African Schools Netball (SASN) linked with partners Unicef, Sportstec, the Department of Education, Sport and Recreation SA and Gate to give the budding young players a chance to develop their netball talent and life skills.
‘This is the first time we have worked on a project like this, but SASN President Di Woolley, who is with the SA Under-17 team in Portugal at the moment, has been working with Unicef for the last four years to put this partnership together,’ said SASN Project Manager Sanmarie Schlebusch. ‘We’re hoping to do this on a regular basis across the country with national and international players. It’s about giving to the young players and teaching them to pay it forward.’
Unicef sports development specialist Lyle Jacobs said every child had the right to play, but they were attempting to do more than merely promote fun during the two-hour clinic. ‘We’re looking to develop and empower the girl child. It’s about holistic development and giving them life-long skills,’ Jacobs said.
‘We’re focusing on advocacy, raising awareness of sport’s role in society and giving the girl child an opportunity to express herself.
‘The Australian team wanted to invest time into young players and today gave them an opportunity to do that by sharing their skills and expertise.’
Michelle den Dekker, coach of the Australian outfit who enjoyed a rest day during the SPAR International Netball Series, said it was a privilege for her players to share their skills with the school children.
‘This is what netball is all about. It’s about uniting the world and this country,’ Den Dekker told the budding young players. ‘Netball is about fun, but it’s also about camaraderie and one of the reasons we’re here is to learn something about South Africa’s culture. To see your smiles today will be something we can take back with us to Australia.’
Helene Botha, President of Dr Kenneth Kaunda netball, thanked all involved for their contribution to the region. ‘Nobody in the country has had the opportunity you’re getting today,’ Botha told the young participants.
‘Thanks to Unicef for their contribution, and to SPAR for everything they’re doing for netball in South Africa and this region.’
Picture of Aussie skipper Ashleigh Brazil is courtesy of Messed up Media