The nation gets behind SA’s big netball bid
IT IS a historical sporting weekend for South Africa with the country’s firstever World Cup hosting bid exclusive to a women’s sporting code.
Netball’s “put your hands up” campaign is a statement for the support of the sport and for women in sport in South Africa.
The country, from government to the public, have responded with an emphatic endorsement to get behind Netball SA’s dream to bring the best teams to Cape Town’s International Convention Centre in 2023.
“The response in the last month has been overwhelming,” said Accelerate Sport’s managing director Gary Grant.
Accelerate Sport is Netball SA’s sports business partner and Grant and his team have been responsible for the bid document that will be delivered to the International Netball Federation’s offices today.
“It’s been an invigorating last month,” said Grant.
“Our team has worked around the clock to ensure the deadline was met. And there has been so much work done by so many within Netball SA, National government, Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and local sponsors of netball.
“Everyone has worked toward the common goal of showcasing the strength and presence that women’s sport has.
“No World Cup event can be hosted unless there is absolute alignment, support and endorsement from government, the provincial government and the host city.
“The thank you goes to those within these structures who, like us in netball, shared the vision of just how important this World Cup is for women in sport in the country, and also recognised the economic benefits for the city, the province and the country.”
The projections are that the 16-team Netball World Cup, hosted in Cape Town, over a 12-day period in 2023, would inject R2.6 billion into the economy.
Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasahas said the government’s vision included bringing international sporting events to South Africa and that there was an emphasis on women in sport.
Minister Xasahas also said netball, in comparison to bids like soccer, rugby and cricket, was not as expensive. This was because the tournament was exclusive to one city and was played over a compact 12-day period.
She said hosting the World Cup would elevate the sport in South Africa, especially professionally. The sport currently is second only to soccer as a participation sport.
New Zealand, winners of the World Cup three times, is also bidding to host the event for a fourth time. The last time New Zealand hosted was in 2007.
But Sascoc president Gideon Sam said it was again time to bring the world’s best in sport to South Africa.