Manchester Thunder and UAE Netball have announced the details of a new initiative developing the game of netball for girls in Abu Dhabi.  

To launch the Manchester Thunder Abu Dhabi Netball Academy, the Champions themselves will be in Abu Dhabi from 6 - 11 November 2022. 

The launch will kick off with a free community workshop at Zayed Sports City on 11 November 2022 for anyone who has registered, followed by an open training session, where the professionals can be seen in action.

Commenting on the arrival of Manchester Thunder into Abu Dhabi, HE Talal Al Hashemi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s Executive Director of Sports Development, said: “We are very excited on the launch of a first of its kind project for girls,” Manchester Thunder Abu Dhabi Netball Academy is open to all girls, of all abilities from age 3 to 19. It offers programs aimed at developing skills through weekly training sessions, coach support and high-level games in addition to holiday camps, competitive matches, regional tournament, and overseas tours”

“The programs will be conducted by highly qualified coaches from Manchester Thunder, with a wealth of experience from playing and coaching at professional levels in the game.”

Dr Amna Al Maazmi, Chair, UAE Netball Federation said ‘This is a truly wonderful opportunity for the girls of Abu Dhabi. The UAE Netball Federation was only established recently in in 2021 to promote, foster develop and manage the game of netball in the UAE in accordance with the International Netball Federation. This is the first of many exciting opportunities that we hope to bring to the region. To attract Manchester Thunder to set up their first academy outside of the UK, in Abu Dhabi, is a testament to the potential that we have amongst our female population. We hope as many girls as possible will enjoy the Manchester Thunder workshop on 11th Nov, and experience, for the first time, meeting the professional netball players and seeing them in action.

The Manchester Thunder Superleague First Team squad will be visiting Abu Dhabi for Pre-Season training, with household names such as Natalie Metcalf, England Roses Captain, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist and Thunder Captain for the 2022/23 season. England Roses and center court maestro Amy Carter, and Future Rose Taylor McKevitt. These players will be joined by their Vitality Superleague Championship teammates for pre- season training in the capital.

Karen Greig, Head Coach Manchester Thunder & Vitality Superleague Coach of the year, commented, “This is an exciting opportunity to grow the game of Netball across the UAE. We look forward to working with the Abu Dhabi community and growing the participation in a sport, which is particularly popular with girls across the world. There will be a regular schedule of both social and competitive matches with other Emirates, along with regional and international tours.  As a professional sport in the UK, we are always on the lookout for exceptional talent, and will work to nurture elite performance into the various pathways that Netball can offer. We hope to see as many girls as possible on the 11th November at Zayed Sports City, for the taster session and a chance to meet the Manchester Thunder first team who will be in Abu Dhabi for pre-season training.

In line with the UAE’s objective to increase female participation in sport, the launch of the Manchester Thunder Abu Dhabi Netball Academy will be one very positive step towards the UAE’s targets.