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Estate Visit - Netball!

With our netball season finished and while we await the start of the new one I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the experience Tamsin and I had playing netball on our recent visit to the estate.

Finding out from Tully that the netball team on the estate had not been playing recently and needed some new netballs, Tamsin and I decided to take some balls over with us and hopefully give them some encouragement to play again. It is such a big part of our weekly lives here in London and we wanted to make sure that the team at the estate were supported. We met with the team captain Elder Hongoli and the coach Joseph Leo Mtoi and had some banter about positions we played and discussed how it would be good to meet the rest of the team and see a match or practice. Within a matter of hours a game had been arranged for the next Saturday between the estate and the factory! There are 6 teams in total that play against each other. It was unclear to Tamsin or I if we were due to just be watching this match or playing in it! All was to be revealed.

Saturday arrived and during the afternoon we made our way to the court (trainers and shorts in-tow just in case we were playing) and arrived to see two teams with brightly coloured kit ready for action. Tully then announced to us that Elder would like us to be on a team each and play! With a giggle and lots of smiles we agreed to play and Tamsin was put on the factory team and I was put on the estate team. What made this even more amusing was that my kit consisted of an Arsenal shirt (my Dad would be proud) and a pink skirt. It should be noted here that I am a Chelsea fan, so wearing red was certainly out of character. Tamsin on the other hand got handed a bright green full kit.

Estate Netball Team Practice

The game was about to start when we realised we could not see any lines on the court. Bemused we quickly asked Tully where we were meant to position ourselves when we then saw that lines had been dug out in the soil. The game began and it was like nothing I had experienced before!

It soon became clear that not all the rules were the same! I seemed to be getting pulled up for standing on my tip toes and as a Goal Defense (GD) this is something I do a lot to mark under the goal. Tamsin was being called up for footwork (something that never happens in the UK) and I was being barged into and marked extremely closely; there clearly were no rules against contact! The umpire was clearly not going to let us get away with anything! With all of these changes plus the altitude and humidity I did not think I was going to survive the full hour! Luckily we came off at half time to make way for the actual GD and Centre for the two teams.

Luponde Netball Team Practice

The standard, fitness and strength of the women were exceptional. What also really stood out was the fact that they had spare players and others waiting on the side lines to play and here in London we can barely get a team of 7 to turn up week on week.

I think the quality of the game improved when we left the court due to the fact we were not fully aware of the African netball rules and the game ended with a huge win to the estate team. We were thrilled to play and be involved in the game and are going to make sure that we send another 3 balls over to them so that each of the 6 teams has some new equipment.African Netball Practice

What Tamsin and I both found surprising from our discussions with the locals at the estate was given the level of enthusiasm for sport in Tanzania that local businesses and government don’t invest more into sports for their communities. It really shows how much is invested into sport in the UK and how much support we get here to participate. This is something that I know I certainly take for granted.

At Luponde we know the health and social benefits of sport to everybody and therefore plan to put the money from the premium on the products that we can’t certify as Fairtrade (due to restrictions that Fairtrade have with the logo) towards sports equipment needed for the teams on the estate. We hope then to be able to provide them with the tools they need to continue playing and keep up the motivation we saw a few weeks ago. It would be great to have a re-match when we next return and after we have done some research on their rules!

Shooting For Goal

Melissa, April 2013