With two years to go to the Netball World Cup 2023, Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa, confirmed the dates for the sport's premier international championship on Tuesday.
Mthethwa also revealed the Netball World Cup Board that will be responsible for organising the logistics of the event to be hosted at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town. As such the six person board announced by Mthethwa will consist of board chairperson Patience Shikwambana, COO of Sascoc; representative of the major of Cape Town, JP Smith; Dr Lyndon Bouah, director of sports and recreation of the Western Cape; Netball South Africa (NSA) president Cecilia Molokwane; COO of NSA Blanche de le Guerre; and deputy-director general of sport, Sumayya Khan.
As explained by Mthethwa, the board will be responsible for: "strategic overall guidance and compliance; approval of all contractual obligations, finalisation of an organisational structure of the organising committee, financial oversight to ensure continued solvency of the organising committee, approval of all requisite policies, and overall project coordination and reporting."
Mtwethwa also confirmed that the government will give its full backing to the hosting of the event, including financial aid and an inter-parliamentary committee consisting of stakeholders from provincial, national and administrative levels relating to the sport and the hosting thereof. The tournament will also form part of the country's economic reconstruction and recovery plan due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shikwambana, meanwhile, assured the nation that the selected board are willing and able to take on the task at hand.
Said the Sascoc COO: "The team that has been put together is a formidable one, and we know our fundamental job at hand. I am confident that we shall not let you (Mtwethwa), or the entire netball family or the country down.
"We are equal to the task, and as a team we shall deliver and we shall conquer," Shikwambana continued.
"At the same time we have the obligation to fulfill (the mandate), on behalf of the participants, the country, our key stakeholders, and the girl-child who has a dream of becoming a netball player. As a country, we have hosted a number of world class events with excellence and pride and it is time again to put our country first and show the world that we are capable hosts in this event, based on our experience, abilities and successes."
Shikwambana also declared that the safety and security of the players will be one of the foremost considerations of the board, as will be using the World Cup as a vehicle to inspire girls across the continent to take up the sport and reach for greatness through the vehicle of netball.
The World Cup will be held from July 17 to August 8, 2023, and will consist of 16 nations, including host nation South Africa. It will be the 16th iteration of the tournament, which has been dominated by Australia and New Zealand since the first tournament held in 1963. South Africa's best placed finish was a runners-up medal in 1995. Most recently the Proteas finished fourth at the 2019 World Cup, held in England.