It’s go time as the Netball World Cup stage is finally set

The stage is set and it’s finally go-time as Africa’s first ever Netball World Cup gets under way at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday.

The 16 competing teams arrived in South Africa’s “Mother City” over the past few weeks, ready for 10 days of incredible netball action.

Speaking on the eve of the global showpiece, tournament director Priscilla Masisi said all preparations have been completed and the venue is good to go.

“It’s been a long journey but finally we are here…we are ready to go, and the place looks beautiful,” Masisi said.

“Thinking that we started with an empty venue that didn’t have anything and we had to build it up from scratch, putting in the seats, the lighting, the rigging and ensuring that everything is up to standard.

The traditional captains’ candle-lighting ceremony took place on Wednesday to mark the start of the tournament.

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa was also in attendance at the final press briefing ahead of the tournament.

“I was happy to receive a very positive report from all stakeholders that are strategically working towards a very successful tournament,” he said.

“I must indicate that for us, hosting an event of this magnitude is to relive the dream of [former president] Nelson Mandela which defines sport as a catalyst and a tool for building a nation.

“Therefore, for us, it’s not about what happens on the field but also the ability of sport to mobilise and organise people and bring us together.

“It is indeed an historic event – its 60th anniversary coinciding with the fact that it’s coming for the first time on African soil.”

The opening ceremony will kick off the evening session before hosts South Africa begin their campaign in Pool C against Wales at 6pm.

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