After winning the 2021 Khomas Super 10 League with a clean sweep, Afrocat Lions are hoping to repeat that feat in the MTC Netball Namibia Premier League this year.
Afrocat Lions were recently announced as one of four teams that gained promotion to the lucrative premier league this season.
The other teams are Blue Waters from the Erongo region, Otjozondjupa Nampol and Northern Fly Ballers from the Omusati region.
Netball Namibia (NN) explained that the four teams were selected by virtue of winning their regional leagues last year.
Theirs were also the only regions to complete their season fixtures on time last year; hence, no regional playoffs were needed to decide who gains promotion to the elite league.
With the top prize now at N$250 000, up from N$40 000 last year, Afrocat Lions’ coach Dimitri Bittler said it is theirs to lose.
He added that although they were prepared for the play-offs, they are excited to have gained promotion without having to contest in play-offs.
“It’s exciting to be part of the new season of the premier league. We were ready for anything, but we celebrated when we learned that we would no longer play those games; it’s really a relieve,” he told New Era Sport.
Bittler noted they will not feel much pressure because they are familiar with most teams in the premier league from the time they were still playing in the lower netball league.
The four new teams join maiden champions Namibia Correction Service (NCS), Eleven Arrows, Mighty Gunners, Grootfontein, Namibia Navy, Rebels, Tigers and Young Stars in the 12-team premier league.
Gunners ended second and Tigers third last season.
Teams will in February compete in a Fast-Five warm-up tournament to give teams an opportunity to gauge one other ahead of the league that will commence in March.
The runners-up will from this year onwards pocket N$150 000 – up from N$35 000 last year, and N$100 000 for the third placed team – up from N$ 25 000 last year. - firstname.lastname@example.org