Netball South Africa president Cecilia Molokwane celebrates the historic moment with Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa (left). Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

South Africa at first needed a nudge to bid for the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, but the country won the hosting rights for the sport’s biggest event on Thursday.

Netball SA (NSA) president Cecilia Molokwane revealed that the country received some encouragement from her counterpart at the International Netball Federation (INF), Molly Rhone, to submit a bid.

The 16-team World Cup will be held over 10 days and will include 60 matches.

It is a historic moment for the sport and the country, with the tournament coming to South Africa, and Africa, for the first time.

South Africa beat four-time world champions New Zealand for the hosting rights for the quadrennial showpiece.

Rhone said that although it was South Africa’s first time bidding for the global showpiece, it was not a defining factor for awarding the hosting rights to the country.

“We look around the globe and we looked at the people that bid in the past, and you don’t want the same people to always be hosting,” Rhone said.

“If they win the bid, they win the bid, but Africa is of great importance to us. That was, of course, not taken into account because you really assess what they have presented.

“We had 13 areas and reasons for hosting, such as such as security, transportation, the legacy programme. It was a very tight competition between them both.”

South Africa has hosted the Soccer World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup, and will now add the netball showpiece to the list.

The two countries made bid presentations in Singapore late last year, where the INF effectively had to decide to bring the World Cup to Africa for the first time or award it to the Kiwis for the fourth time.

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

The tournament is expected to attract 120 000 visitors to Cape Town for the tournament, which is projected to inject in excess of R2.5 billion to the country’s economy.

Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa said winning the bid was not only a compliment to South African sport, but also a major shot in the arm for female sport in the country.

“I would like to commend the INF bid committee, because choosing our country to be the host would not only popularise the sport, but give opportunities to our young girls.”

Rhone said that while both bid books were exceptional, South Africa swayed the vote based on the legacy the event would leave not only in the country, but also on the continent.

“South Africa was very strong in the legacy area, which is great for our sport their legacy of supplying courts to other areas of the country will allow many more girls to play netball,” Rhone said.

“There were specific areas on which they were judged and both bids were equal in a lot of areas, but South Africa really stood out in their legacy programmes, which are great for our sport.”


The Star

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