Johannesburg,  April 2016: While 150 of South Africa’s top netball players clash in around the country over the next month, they will be taking to the court not only to win the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League for their team, but also to inspire young South Africans as part of The South African Breweries 18+ #BeTheMentor campaign.

Netball South Africa today announced that they have signed up to the campaign and players, coaches, match officials and administrators alike havea younger friend or relative to make positive choices in their lives.

Blanche De Le Guerre, CEO of Netball SA, said: “Young girls across the country are faced with many threats and temptations and we believe that this campaign has the potential to make a significant difference. Sport in general and Netball in particular is a powerful alternative for teens who might otherwise be drawn into alcohol abuse at a young age. We hope that by being part of this campaign our players will help and inspire young girls to choose a healthier, safer and more prosperous life.”

The #BeTheMentor campaign, which focuses on young adults mentoring teenagers to help them make the right decisions, and to steer them away from underage drinking, has already proved to be successful in combating underage drinking with a 52% reduction* in the incidence of underage drinking amongst the control group since the campaign was launched in November last year.

“It is our aim that the campaign will create a significant and impactful movement of mentors making a difference in the lives of South Africa’s youth. We aim to give them hope for the future and reduce the incidence of underage drinking,” says Jessica Yellin, SAB Manager External Communications.

Netball South Africa partnered with SAB and Brutal Fruit in 2014, in a five-year deal, in order to make a positive impact women’s sport in South Africa.

The Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League involves teams from every province in South Africa. It takes up a position at the summit of Netball SA’s elite domestic programme which includes the SPAR National Championships, the Fast 5 Netball National Series, as well as the management and development of the SPAR Proteas and SPAR u/21 Proteas national teams.

Players will all be taking on mentees and will work with them over the next year. Mentees will be invited to attend matches, get a peek at the behind the scenes action, and be part of coaching clinics specially set up for this group. Players will also have ongoing one on one engagements with their mentees to help them through the day to day challenges that they may face.

“It is important for our local sports heroes and heroines to use their positions as role models to our country’s youth by encouraging responsible behavior amongst them, particularly underage drinking, which negatively impacts so many young people. This is one of the ways in which we are able to nurture young talent and grow the sport into the future,” says Blanche de la Guerre, Chief Executive Officer, Netball South Africa.

Spectators watching the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League will be encouraged to take the pledge themselves and sign up at www.sabstories.co.za where the mentor pack is available for download.

For the latest on the 18+ Campaign, #BETHEMENTOR on: