9 March 2019 – Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and veteran defender Noko Matlou have joined most of South Africans in congratulating Netball South Africa (NSA) for winning the bid to host the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The announcement to host the 2023 Netball World Cup was made on Thursday (7 March 2019) in Cape Town, where the International Netball Federation (INF) announced that South Africa will be hosting the international sporting event ahead of New Zealand.

Ellis, who landed in the country on Friday afternoon (8 March 2019) following Banyana Banyana’s campaign in this year’s Cyprus Cup, said that this was good tidings for the country.

“I remember I was once asked to do a video of support for Netball South Africa for them to win the bid just before we flew to last year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana,” Ellis said. “And to return back in the country following our participation in this year’s Cyprus Cup tournament to such news, it is just great.”

Ellis also stated that women’ sports in South Africa is on the rise, while also adding that the country will do a stunning job in hosting the event, like they did with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“Not so long ago, our National Under-17 Women’s team qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World in Uruguay,” said Ellis who walked away as the 2018 CAF Coach of the Year at this year’s CAF Awards. “Our Banyana Banyana national team qualified for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, while the likes of Thembi Kgatlana walked away with two major accolades (CAF Goal of the Year and CAF Woman Player of the Year) at this year’s CAF Awards. This goes to show that we, as women, are doing something right in this sporting world. We just need to keep on working hard as a collective.”

Matlou, who reached 150 caps for playing for Banyana Banyana at this year’s Cyprus tournament, said that the hosting of this upcoming international sporting event, will inspire many women to continue believing in their dreams.

“Being a female athlete is not easy,” Matlou said. “There are a lot of challenges we as women encounter in the sporting world and having victories such as these, makes all the battles that we go through all worth it. The hosting of this international sporting event will inspire most girls who want to pursue any sporting coat as a career and also believe that they too, can become whatever they want in life.”

Matlou added: “I would also like to thank the South African Football Association (SAFA) for their undying supporting in helping women such as myself, to represent their nation at the highest level. I would not have reached this important milestone in my career (reaching 150 caps), if it was not for their unwavering support.”