Netball South Africa are bidding to host the 2023 World Cup in what would be an historic first for the sport in South Africa and Africa.
Four-time world champions New Zealand are also bidding to host the World Cup – for a fourth time.
The 2023 World Cup bid projections estimate 120 000 additional visitors to the South African host city because of the World Cup, which translates to a financial injection in excess of R2.5 billion to SA’s economy.
The 16-team World Cup is hosted in one city, with the tournament not exceeding 10 playing days. It features 60 matches that will be broadcast live globally.
Cape Town, because of its international tourism status, has been identified as a prime host city option, but NSA chief executive Blanche de la Guerre said the bid team was in discussions with representatives of all South Africa’s major cities.
“It’s a bid that has got so much potential that extends beyond the sport because it is one that speaks to South Africa and by extension Africa, where netball has a massive participation and audience following. It speaks to the excellence in women’s sport and further celebrates women in society,” said De la Guerre.
“We had discussions with all the provinces to explain the bid. We had to be sure the appetite from the potential host city candidates matched ours to host a World Cup because without the city, provincial and government support, it would be impossible to host the sport’s biggest event.
“The enthusiasm certainly is there provincially, and our presentation to the government will hopefully prove appealing and inspiring.”
NSA president Cecilia Molokwane was instrumental in the campaign to take netball back to the people, and she was also at the forefront of the ‘Fill up Ellis Park’ drive, which led to a sold-out Ellis Park Arena for the Quad Series earlier this year.
Molokwane said South Africa, as illustrated by the hosting of the Soccer World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup, along with the African Cup of Nations and many other international tours, was the ideal sporting destination.
“South Africa has a magnificent track record when it comes to big sporting events, but this also allows us to be a leader in South Africa and Africa with the hosting of a sporting World Cup that focuses on women in sport.”
Netball, as a sporting code in South Africa, has made massive strides in the last five years, and the establishment of the Brutal Fruit Premier League has also strengthened the quality of SA’s national squad. The Premier League involves 10 teams from nine provinces.
South Africa’s national team, the Proteas, consolidated their fifth place world ranking in 2018, and in the last year, have beaten and drawn with Commonwealth champions England.
The Proteas also came within a few points of a stunning upset against Australia and New Zealand earlier in the year.
The World Cup bids have to be officially handed in at the end of June, and the winning country will be announced in April 2019.