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Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa: It was a day of celebration for the community of Malelane in Mpumalanga on Saturday, 22 April, with the opening of the Malelane SUPERSPAR multi-purpose sports facility.

The sports facility, which has four courts, can cater for netball, soccer, and cricket. It will be used by local school teams, clubs and even provincial teams like the Mpumalanga Sunbirds and will give local administrators, team managers and coaches an opportunity to develop their sports.

It was a festive occasion on Saturday, with music provided by a local marimba band. The Netball World Cup mascot, Letsatsi was present, and the Mpumalanga Sunbirds hosted a netball clinic. Twenty-five schools took part in a friendly netball tournament and two male netball teams played an exhibition match.

Soccer fans also had something to enthuse about when a team from the Malelane SUPERSPAR took on a local community team, Idlabantu FC.

Lex Hollman, owner of the Malelane SUPERSPAR, said the decision to build the facility was inspired by SPAR’s support for netball over many years. South Africa hosting the Netball World Cup (NWC) in Cape Town later this year was seen as an opportunity to increase the scope of netball in the community.

“Financial constraints in the community make it difficult for children to travel to areas that have sports facilities,” said Hollman.

“We can also incorporate other campaigns like the anti-GBV campaign and the sanitary pad drive to keep girls in school. We are providing a safe space for children to play the sport they love,” he said.

“SPAR has long been associated with assisting women in sport,” said SPAR Sponsorships and Events Controller Bella Mogane.

“But we have always been ready to lend a helping hand to other sporting codes that need assistance in developing young talent at a grassroots level. This multi-sports facility will inspire and drive a passion for netball, soccer, and cricket,” she said.

“It will have a positive impact on the community of Malelane.”

“To have a facility we can call home is a dream come true,” said Bongi Maseko, President of the Ehlanzeni Netball Association.

“It will help us prepare for games, scout for talent, and develop skills through the sport we are passionate about. “We are humbled by the gift SPAR has offered to our community,” she said.

The President of Netball South Africa, Cecilia Molokwane also attended the opening and was delighted with the investment SUPERSPAR Malelane had made to the community. “SPAR have been the longest sponsors of netball in South Africa and are committed to the promotion and development of the game through their sponsorship investment. There is a SPAR wherever you go all over South Africa and netball is played throughout South Africa, is the biggest women’s sport, second biggest sporting code behind football in the country and the fastest growing sport. So, it made perfect sense for Netball South Africa to partner with SPAR. SPAR is good for netball.”