Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Reezal Merican Naina Merican said that the Netball Super League (NSL) would give a new lease of passion for netball and women's sports development in Malaysia.
Astro and the Malaysian Netball Association (PBJM) established the professional netball league that began its inaugural season on March 19, featuring eight teams: Johor Jewels, KL Wildcats, Selangor Angels, Perak Phoenix, Melaka Mystic, Negeri Sembilan Venom, Kedah Sunshine and Pahang Tulip.
"This initiative by Astro and PBJM is a fresh starting point for netball development in Malaysia, providing experience and exposure to local female athletes.
"Malaysians can look forward to a competitive league as there are seasoned professionals competing along with new young talents passionate to represent Malaysia," he said.
PBJM president Alwiyah Talib described NSL as the best platform for women to showcase their talents as well as to give them equal opportunities in sports participation.
"We’re excited to have our own league so netball can grow in popularity and talent pool. Nur Syafazliana Ali [captain of the Malaysia national netball team] and her teammates, An Najwa Azizan, Karishma S. Loganathan and Pow Mei Fong are among the players competing in the league.
"It’s a good platform for them to develop their competitive gameplay towards improving Malaysia’s ranking in the world stage. We hope the increased coverage on Astro will inspire more women to play sports with dreams of becoming a professional netball player," Alwiyah said.
Meanwhile, Lee Choong Khay, Astro’s Head of Sports, said that Astro always strives to provide the best content to sports fans while navigating COVID-19 health and safety precautions.
"We look forward to when the government allows spectators at the stadium again following health and safety SOPs. We welcome fans to safely watch and cheer NSL teams at the stadium with a small ticket fee.
"Astro will provide the best coverage and highlights of the NSL. We know sports fans are excited to watch netball because we recorded over 850,000 viewers during our coverage of the 2017 SEA Games netball finals.
"We want the NSL to instil passion for females in the sporting arena and hope public and corporate sectors come join and support us on this journey," he said.
Perak Phoenix and Kedah Sunshine faced off in the opening match of the season, with the former prevailing 47-38.