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It will be an historic moment in South African netball when our men’s national netball team take the court in the Males International Netball Tournament, 14-18 September at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. South Africa will play Uganda, Kenya and two affiliate members, the Department of Correctional Services and Action Sport’s ‘Radlers’ in a round robin tournament. The top two teams on the log will play for the title on Saturday. We caught up with males national coach Arthur Maseko.

Take us through how things started to come together for this team?
In 2013 there was a similar series with a group to play a certain number of teams and was dismantled afterwards. In 2013 there were five teams, two from SA and two from Australia and one from Kenya. In 2019 I was officially appointed as national team coach, we then participated during the (2019) Telkom Netball League as the ‘President’s Stars’, playing against teams like Dorette Badenhorst’s SPAR Smileys and the ladies of Zimbabwe as they prepared for the 2019 Netball World Cup.

How’s your preparation been for the 2021 Males International Netball Tournament?
I wish we could’ve had more time with the team to implement things. But we’ve had our training and selection camp and a few sessions.

Are you happy with the team?
The dominance of netball comes from Gauteng and KZN, as these provinces take netball very seriously. All the boys that are here in the team, are here on merit. I’ve had a look at them, and I have the belief and confidence they will do well. They look a happy bunch and ready to represent the country.

Are you comfortable with the combinations?
Yeah definitely, when we go on court – I’ve seen what I wanted to see and I’ve almost settled to how we’ll start and approach the first game, but the first game will determine what will happen going to forward. But we’ve worked on different combinations, we’ve got a plan A, we’ve got a plan B, we’ve got a plan C, and possibly a plan D.

What does this tournament mean for male netball?
The players, the coaches, and when I say players and don’t mean the players that are just here, I mean the players all over the country and the coaches. We’ve been working on this for many years now. So it means a lot. It’s a golden opportunity for the boys to go out there and represent the country. The guys have received their national colours, their Protea colours which is something. I think it’s a first of its kind at this level for the males. So the males are very excited and I’m also pleased to be part of this historic event and moment.

What do you know about the other teams?
Out of all these teams, in particular the foreign teams, Uganda and Kenya. These guys are very big, they’re very tall. We’ve worked on a plan and with the amount talent we poses, the speed, the agility and the netball brains, I believe we have what it takes to give them a run for their money.

Any message or inspiration you would like to share with up-and-coming coaches?
We need to get our male netball coaches accredited, they need to attend courses and seminars so that they can get acquainted with national and international trends, so that we have the tools and the skills to coach our males in the correct manner so that we can produce players for the national team.

South Africa face Kenya and Uganda’s ‘The Rock’ on the opening day of the tournament. Matches from 14:00 (SAST) on Tuesday 14 September will be live streamed to Netball South Africa’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.