The Gauteng Jaguars made it back-to-back triumphs in the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League in a month when Netball South Africa’s 2023 World Cup bid has gained momentum.
Sascoc President Gideon Sam recently endorsed the bringing of Netball’s biggest global tournament to South Africa and Africa for a first time, and the response from several South African cities has been equally supportive.
All bids have to be formally handed in by the end of June, with New Zealand among South Africa’s strongest challenge. New Zealand is bidding to host the World Cup for the fourth time.
Sam (pictured), speaking on the eve of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League, said women’s sport had always been a priority in SA.
“We believe that if we host this, netball with grow in the country. But let’s be patient as this (bidding) process goes through the process. Sascoc is 120 percent behind the Federation.”
Government sources, speaking to Independent Media, confirmed an appetite for the country to support Netball’s historic first bid. The sources echoed Sam’s view of process being adhered to, in terms of government protocols and the hosting of international sporting events, but all indications were that the government is as committed to turning Netball’s World Cup dream into a reality.
The key to any bid will be how Government and the proposed host city combine their efforts to provide financial guarantees for Netball SA’s challenge.
Buffalo City’s response to news of the bid has been immediate and the most emphatic, but from a tourism perspective it is expected that Cape Town will make the most ideal host city for the two-week tournament, which would feature the game’s 16 best international teams.
Netball’s World Cup requirement is for the tournament to be exclusive to one city.
Projections are that bringing the World Cup to one of South Africa’s premier cities would be a R2.5 billion economic cash injection, while the impact on the sport in SA would be massive.
Sam was insistent in advocating what hosting a World Cup of Netball would do for women in SA and for womens’ sport.
He teased that he would like to see his home province’s Aloes (from the Eastern Cape) break the monopoly of success from up north but defending champions, the Jaguars, proved their quality in a thrilling Brutal Fruit Premier League Final 49-47 win against the Western Cape Southern Stings.
The University of Pretoria’s Rembrandt Hall played host to a final that showcased the depth of South Africa’s talent.
Jaguars’ wing defence Tshina Mdau was named player of the match and the Free State Crinums centre, Khanyisa Chawane, was named the player of the tournament.
The North West Flames beat the Free State Crinums 66-64 in a nail-biting play-off for third place that went into extra time.
Final: Gauteng Jaguars 49-47 Western Cape Southern Stings
3rd/4th play-off: North West Flames 66-64 Free State Crinums (extra time; full time score 49-49)
1. Gauteng Jaguars
2. Western Cape Southern Stings
3. North West Flames
4. Free State Crinums
5. Gauteng Golden Fireballs
6. KZN Kingdom Stars
7. Mpumalanga Sunbirds
8. Limpopo Baobabs
9. Eastern Cape Aloes
10. Northern Cape Diamonds