Huge blow for SA's preparations ahead of 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town

Huge blow for SA's preparations ahead of 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town

The department of sport and recreation has finally conceded it is highly unlikely a professional netball league could be set up in SA before the Netball World Cup is held in Cape Town in 2023.

This is a huge blow for the national netballs team's preparations for the event as former coach Norma Plummer and current coach Dorette Badenhorst have publicly spoken about the importance of the players featuring in a professional league in the lead up to the World Cup.

Their sentiments were echoed by Netball SA (NSA) president Cecilia Molokwane and former sports minister Tokozile Xasa‚ who called for the establishment of a professional league.

SA's close competitors England‚ New Zealand‚ Australia and Jamaica have established professional leagues in which some Proteas players often take part.

Some of the best current SA players‚ namely Karla Pretorius‚ Shadine van der Merwe‚ Phumza Maweni‚ Sigi Burger‚ Ine-Mari Venter‚ Lefebre Rademan and Lenize Potgieter‚ are based overseas where they play against some of the top players in the world.

“We have to be honest that we will not have a professional league by then (World Cup)‚” admitted Sumayya Khan‚ who is deputy director-general for recreation development and sport promotion in the department of sport.

“I think we will be a step closer‚ given the fact that many processes have already taken place over the last seven years in establishing a Premier League that will eventually take us towards a professional league.

“We are less two years away from the World Cup. NSA already has a Premier League but it is not a full professional league at the moment. It is a step towards a professional league.”

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a six-person local organising committee (OC) board for the Netball World Cup to be chaired by Sascoc chief operations officer Patience Shikwambana.

The others members are: JP Smith (MMC for safety and security‚ Cape Town); Dr Lyndon Bouah (chief director: Western Cape department of cultural affairs and sport); Cecilia Molokwane (NSA president); Blanche de le Guerre (NSA CEO); and Sumayya Khan (DDG: department of sport‚ arts and culture).

Mthethwa said the committee's responsibilities include strategic overall guidance and compliance‚ approval of all contractual obligations‚ finalisation of an organisational structure for the OC‚ financial oversight to ensure continued solvency of the OC‚ approval of all requisite policies and overall project coordination and reporting.

“In bidding for the Netball World Cup‚ we firmly believed that hosting the event would  create an environment for peak performances from the games’ finest players and provide them with a uniquely African and particularly South African experience.

"Our track record of hosting premier global sporting events is unparalleled. We want to host the most inspirational tournament in Netball World Cup history‚” said Mthethwa.