The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Sports Centre has been a hive of activity over Netball World Cup Cape Town 2023, hosting numerous team practices in the lead-up to the finals at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 6 August.
A temporary wooden court surface was fitted in Sport Hall B prior to the start of the Netball World Cup on 26 July.
Between official matches, UCT’s Sports Centre fast became a favourite venue for Netball World Cup teams’ drills and target shooting.
Overseen by strict security – UCT underwent an official tour of inspection before getting the green light as a practice venue – the Sports Centre hosted practice drills by Spar Proteas’ Group C rivals Sri Lanka, Wales and Jamaica, as well as Group A’s Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga, Group B’s Malawi and Scotland, and Group D’s Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago.
The play-offs and medal ceremony will be held on 6 August. At the time of writing, South Africa’s Spar Proteas had a mathematical chance of making it to the final rounds after their exciting draw to favourites New Zealand’s Silver Ferns.
The Netball World Cup has been dominated by Australia and New Zealand; medals have been few and far between for the Spar Proteas. South Africa finished third in Perth in 1967, before being excluded by apartheid sanctions. They returned in 1995, winning silver in Birmingham.
In the wake of the excitement, UCT will also host the annual provincial intervarsity netball tournament from 15 August to 22 September, with teams from the Western Cape’s five higher education institutions competing. Other sports will include football, basketball and volleyball.
All games will be played at UCT except for netball, which will take place at Stellenbosch University.
The UCT Sport and Recreation team hope that netball at the university will benefit from the interest generated, said UCT sports coordinator Clement le Roux. Le Roux manages netball and football, as well as several other sports codes.
UCT has four women’s netball teams (three compete in the local league), and a healthy 30-team recreational residence ‘league’.
More good news, said Le Roux, is that UCT now has two men’s netball teams, which are highly competitive.
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