Final countdown to Netball World Cup

Representatives of the City of Cape Town, Netball South Africa and the netball community at the Netball World Cup flag ceremony in Heerengracht Street on Friday July 21.

The city is abuzz as it gears up to host Africa’s first Netball World Cup, taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in just a few days.

The global tournament will see 16 teams compete over 10 days, from Friday July 28 to Sunday August 6, to win the Netball World Cup trophy and the title of the Netball World Cup champions.

The participating teams include host nation South Africa, defending champions New Zealand, Australia, Barbados, England, Fiji, Jamaica, Malawi, Scotland, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Wales and Zimbabwe.

On Friday July 21, to mark a week before the tournament is set to kick off, the City, joined by the CEO of Netball South Africa, Blanche de la Guerre and members of the netball community, held a flag ceremony at the Coen Steytler roundabout in Walter Sisulu Drive, where the flags of participating nations were hoisted and will be flown until the end of the tournament in August.

At the event, the mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the preparation for the event is well under way within the CTICC and the mega fan park, where those without tickets can access the free viewing area.

“We are thrilled to be hosting and welcoming everyone here. These flags are a tangible moment to indicate that we are just a week away. This has seemed unreal over the past three years with all the preparation that has gone into it. All this comes together today as the first event to signal the arrival of the teams and the raising of their flags.

“We carry the responsibility to make sure the world remembers this as the best world cup ever. ”

Ms De la Guerre said the South African netball team, the Proteas, are in good condition and are ready to compete.

“They are a unit, they play together, and that’s what you need when you go on court…they are very well prepared.”

She said she hopes having the Netball World Cup in South Africa will push African governments to support the sport more, and that the event will put Africa on the map.

“As members of world netball we would really want African netball to improve and to be on a good competitive standard with the world. I think the world cup being held here will get the attention of the governments.”

She said it also gives the players an opportunity to measure their strengths against the world’s top netball players.

Representatives of the netball community are Courtney Valentyn,16, from Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain, Saarah Kamish 15, from Old Woodlands in Mitchell’s Plain, Tehya Frost,16, from Pinelands and Asanda Mini from Langa outside of the CTICC at the Fan Park site.

Netball World Cup fan park

Outside the CTICC, the City of Cape Town is preparing a fan park, where netball fans can watch matches on a big screen, play interactive games, and enjoy free entertainment and other activations.

Situated on Walter Sisulu Drive between Heerengracht and Buitengracht streets, the Fan Park will be a hive of all things netball from Netball World Cup games on a big screen, netball exhibition games and live music performances.

The launch concert will take place on Wednesday July 26 and will see local artists, including Nasty C, Simmy, Goodluck, Emo Adams, DJ Grant Lesch and Kurt Darren, set the tone leading up to the event.

Spectators can also expect Fan Park days filled with action-packed activities including:

  • Kids’ Corner with games such as Jenga, jumping castle, face painting and giant chess
  • Cape Town Carnival Floats and cultural performances
  • Daily prizes
  • Sporting Chance Street Netball Challenge Finals
  • A food court with outdoor seating, snacks, hot beverages and a beer garden.

Local mural artists will also transform the pavement on Lower Loop Street into a netball-themed art piece. Members of the public will have the opportunity to join the artists in painting the pavement.

The Fan Park will be open daily from 7am and close after the final match of the day.

Ms De la Guerre said they looked at all aspects of making the Netball World Cup accessible to all. Tickets, which cost from R500 to R800, were not too expensive, she said, as spectators will see two games for the price of one ticket.

There are only 5 000 seats in the CTICC and 1 000 in the CTICC2, so that’s why there were fan parks, she said, and viewing centres in all the districts.

There are also many tickets that were made available and transport for some schools who play netball, so there will be children coming.

“We took it all in mind but being in a smaller venue, we did what we could.”

Netball player from Weltevreden Netball Club, in Mitchell’s Plain, Sarah Kamish, 15, from Old Woodlands said she was “super excited” for the world cup.

“I couldn’t wait for the event to come to South Africa to experience this and learning from players. I can’t wait.”

Boost for Cape Town economy

The Netball World Cup being held in South Africa is expected to boost the local economy and events sector.

The Mayco member for tourism and economic growth, James Vos, said sporting events are popular and tend to draw more spectators, which in turn means an increase in tourism into the city, a surge in spend at local restaurants, hotels and retail.

“A review of the economic impact revealed that seven of the biggest events hosted in Cape Town over the past year generates over R5bn worth of economic activity in Cape Town.”

A deeper dive into the numbers shows that between February and March alone, over 417 000 people attended events in Cape Town, said Mr Vos, adding that these events created over 11 000 jobs and provided various trading opportunities for small to medium enterprises.

In terms of the Netball World Cup, he said, the previous edition held in Liverpool in 2019 had an economic impact of around R189 million.

The president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jacques Moolman, said while it was difficult to predict attendance figures at the Cape Town edition, the fact that it was being hosted in South Africa is a massive vote of confidence, not only in South African netball, but also in South Africa’s ability to deliver a world-class event.

Hosting of the Netball World Cup also bolsters Cape Town’s fast-growing reputation as a global hot spot for international sports events across a variety of sporting codes, he said.

“The City of Cape Town estimated the value of the Rugby 7s tournament to the Western Cape at around R700 million – slightly more than the value of the Two Oceans Marathon. So it is clear that hosting these events is hugely important to local business.”

He added that hosting the Netball World Cup is also a welcome investment in female sport at a time when male sport still dominates, both in terms of investment and broadcasting attention.

“We hope to see more events of this kind that could address the gender imbalance.”

Southern Sun is the official hotel partner of the Netball World Cup. Operations director, Samantha Clingham, said hosting international sporting events such as this in Cape Town presents “a wonderful opportunity for Southern Sun, the city and indeed South Africa as a nation, to showcase our special blend of culture, extraordinary experiences, and warmth to the world.

“It goes without saying that this brings a much-needed boost to the country’s economy, which relies heavily on the international inbound market to thrive.”

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), says hosting the event is a proud moment for the city and the CBD.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to, once again, showcase that Cape Town, and its CBD, is a world-class sporting and events destination and will build on the excellent reputation we established when we hosted other international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup in 2010.”