Covid-19 brings new fight to SA's netball boss
She gained widespread admiration in how she ferociously fought back after a Covid-19 diagnosis recently.
Now, Netball SA's president Cecilia Molokwane has a new fight in her hands, brought by the virus. After the coronavirus has enforced the suspension of sports and cancellation of events, Molokwane has launched scathing attack on doubts about South Africa’s chances of hosting the 2023 Netball World Cup.
SA won the right to host the tournament, which will be played in Cape Town. Molokwane admits that as hosts, keeping abreast with plans, with the country on lockdown, has proven a challenge. But she has rejected any possibility of the tournament being cancelled.
The Cape Town International Convention Centre was announced as the venue for the 16th edition of the tournament by the International Netball Federation in Liverpool exactly a year ago.
The INF, of which Molokwane is a board member, cited the government’s pledge to invest heavily in preparation and development in the lead-up to the tournament as an incentive to bring the event to South Africa. With the bulk of efforts directed to the Covid-19 fight, it’s unclear how much of this commitment the government can fulfill.
“The tournament, the first on the African continent [will] be the country's and the continent’s legacy. It was an honour to be chosen to host. It will absolutely change the lives of players of this continent. However, the most important thing right now is to save people’s lives,” Molokwane said.
“We cannot put people’s lives at risk, no matter what. Navigating the planning around these conditions has been hectic, deadlines have been affected, so we are going to have to work 10 times harder to be ready to deliver the best World Cup ever.”
Molokwane also said she foresees further extensions of the lockdown by President Cyril Ramaphosa to try and contain the spread of the virus, as has been done by many countries around the world.
“Having battled the disease myself, I can tell you I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. I went through hell. People must understand that the virus does not move, people move [it]; they must adhere to the lockdown call. "As much as everyone has important targets to meet, we have to tread carefully, because it’s not worth putting anyone’s live at risk.”