Bongiwe Msomi of South Africa gets past Sam Sinclair of New Zealand during the Netball Quad Series in Brisbane last year. Photo: EPA

Netball South Africa will build the 2023 World Cup bid around Cape Town as the host city.

Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (CTICC) will for two weeks be transformed into a netball mecca that would inject in excess of R2.5 billion to the Western Cape and South African economy.

The Weekend Argus understands that Netball South Africa, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape government and South African government this week met in Pretoria to fast track the bid process and ensure there is no loss of momentum as South Africa goes up against New Zealand for the rights to host a first-ever World Cup in South Africa, and by extension Africa.

New Zealand is bidding to host the World Cup for a fourth time. They last hosted the sport’s biggest event in 2007. The 2019 World Cup is in Liverpool, England. This is the first time Netball South Africa (NSA) has ever bid to play host to the best 16 teams in the world.

Sources told the Weekend Argus that there is a big appetite from government to acknowledge the importance and standing of women in sport, and also to showcase the ability of the country to host international sporting events. The bid deadline is the end of June, and the week of June 25 is the most crucial for the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town, Netball South Africa and the National government in finalising the financial security guarantees that always accompany any international hosting bid. Sascoc President Gideon Sam has endorsed the bid and the impact hosting the World Cup in 2023 would have for the profile of women in sport.

NSA president Cecilia Molokwane and national Proteas captain Bongiwe Msomi have been at the forefront of Netball South Africa’s ‘put your hands up’ campaign in creating awareness around the sport and also women in sport.

"Netball is the most popular sport among females in South Africa and is the second most participated sport (behind soccer) in South Africa. More than 2-million active netball participants play on a weekly basis," said Molokwane. "South Africa has a magnificent track when it comes to big sporting events, which allows us to be the leader in South Africa and Africa with the hosting of a sporting World Cup that focuses on women in sport."

Msomi, one of the inspirational figures in South African women’s sport, urged the people of South Africa, the city of Cape Town, the Western Cape government and the National government to make an emphatic statement on the importance of women’s sport in South Africa.

Rugby, Soccer and Cricket World Cup bids have in the past comfortably been endorsed through government support, guarantees and pre-event funding.

Netball South Africa, by virtue of the sport’s standing in South Africa, is asking the same support be given to the women of South Africa.

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