President of Netball South Africa Cecilia Molokwane during the Spar Proteas team announcement for Netball World Cup in Liverpool at Holiday Inn, Sandton, Johannesburg on May 22, 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/REG CALDECOTT
President of Netball South Africa Cecilia Molokwane during the Spar Proteas team announcement for Netball World Cup in Liverpool at Holiday Inn, Sandton, Johannesburg on May 22, 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/REG CALDECOTT

Having a professional league before the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town will be a huge boost for the national team, says Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane.

Former Proteas coach Norma Plummer‚ former sports minister Tokozile Xasa and many others have in the past called for the formation of a professional league.

Current and former players such Shadine van der Merwe‚ Bongiwe Msomi‚ Karla Mostert, Pumza Maweni‚ Lenize Potgieter‚ Khanyisa Chawane‚ Karla Pretorius‚ Maryka Holtzhausen and Erin Burger gained valuable experience playing in top leagues abroad.

“It’s very easy — you don’t want to host a top-class World Cup tournament with a team that doesn’t perform‚” she said.

“Those things go hand in hand. If we want to host a World Cup that will be magnificent and everybody will be talking about, the team has to perform. Imagine we are hosting the World Cup and don’t even go to the quarterfinals — how is the country going to feel?

“We must go to the quarterfinals and progress to get a medal.

“To make the team perform‚ you must also make sure netball turns professional. Because if you focus on one and forget the other‚ you are not going to have the  50/50 between performance and hosting a good event.”

Molokwane said she would be proud to have a professional league on her tenure‚ which would  be the legacy she leaves for the game when she vacates office.

“My legacy would be to see netball become professional in this country where players wake up in the morning to go to a netball court and do what they love most and be rewarded for doing that.”

Covid-19 affected events such as Proteas training camps‚ the 2020 Telkom Netball League and the Africa Youth Qualifiers in Uganda, Molokwane said.

The youth qualifiers are held for a place to compete at the 2021 Youth World Champs to be held in Fiji.

The Telkom Netball League would take place later in 2020‚ probably in November or December‚ she said.

They also hope to host the Diamond Challenge featuring Jamaica‚ Malawi‚ and Eswatini.