Stephanie Wood of the Aussie Diamonds blocks Karla Pretorius of the Proteas during their Netball Quad Series match. Photo: EPA/David Rowland

JOHANNESBURG – Netball South Africa (NSA) are confident they will succeed where rugby failed by successfully securing a bid for the World Cup in 2023.

The national federation expected the International Netball Federation (INF) to announce the host nation in late March or early April.

NSA chief executive Blanche de la Guerre said she was confident the decision would go South Africa’s way and against the bid by New Zealand.

De la Guerre said the World Cup would not only prove to South Africans how big the sport is in the country but also hopefully cement it among the top nations on the planet.

“It needs a World Cup to make South Africa aware of how big netball is. If you look at the growth over the last five to 10 years, it is absolutely evident netball has a place in this country,” De la Guerre said.

“We can manage a sport just as well as any other federation and for that we have to prove to the rest of the world that if you bring the World Cup to us, the legacy would be that we can become a netball nation like Australia and New Zealand.

“We nearly beat New Zealand on the court, and now we just need to do it off the court.”

South Africa and New Zealand made bid presentations in Singapore late last year and the INF will effectively have to decide to bring the World Cup to Africa for the first time or award it to the Kiwis for a fourth time.

Although New Zealand has hosted three previous Netball World Cups, 2023 is the centenary year of netball in that country.

Meanwhile, SA netball suffered a major blow with SA Breweries (SAB) announcing it would not renew their sponsorship of the Netball Premier League for 2019.

NSA president Cecilia Molokwane said the news was a big knock to the sport and its pursuit of launching a professional league.

“When SAB came on board five years ago, netball was not at the level it is now, where players are playing overseas thanks to the exposure they had in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League,” Molokwane said.

“It is a very big blow considering that in 2019 we have to compete at the World Cup in Liverpool. But we decided that the Premier League is a key tournament for us to prepare the girls for the World Cup.”

NSA would continue to host the Premier League and hoped to get a new sponsor on board before the start of the tournament in May.

The tournament will see the addition of an 11th team made up of Proteas players with the hopes of giving them competitive competition ahead of the World Cup in July.

@ockertde


The Star

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