Why the world netball world youth cup was cancelled

Faith Kiai
Journalist @New Vision
Mar 21, 2021

The International Netball Federation’s (INF) decision to cancel the Netball World Youth Cup will derail a few dreams but when all is said and done, it was indeed the right decision.

The She Pearls would have rubbed shoulders with the best of the best from New Zealand, Australia, England, Jamaica, and South Africa among others, but that is now a missed opportunity.    

The event had before been postponed from June 2021 to December to buy hosts Fiji time but that hasn’t worked either.

Of the 20 nations that were supposed to take part in the tournament, Uganda’s She Pearls were desperate for this opportunity but like 19 others they can only take it on the chin.

The die has been cast and once again, COVID-19 has claimed another tournament.

“It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision to cancel the Netball World Youth Cup 2021. Our U21 athletes represent the emerging talent at an international level, and we recognise this announcement will be a significant disappointment for them, for our Members, our fans, and indeed for all the netball family. We thank the organising committee for their considerable efforts thus far in planning for the event and for the ongoing support of the Fijian Government concerning hosting,” said INF president Liz Nicholl CBE.

Fiji has been one of the countries that have handled the pandemic well and the risk attached to all these teams making their way to the Pacific Island nation was too high.

Uganda Netball Federation president Susan Anek took part in the March 12 stakeholders meeting that ultimately brought to an end all dreams of world cup glory for the She Pearls. Much like most vital INF decisions, a survey was conducted and the result was the cancellation.

“Fiji is free of the coronavirus and the INF feared for its people. The Fijian Government also felt they may not realise the investment on the tournament,” mentioned Anek.

The December tournament would likely have been played without fans which may have affected the small nation’s bottom line in terms of returns on investment. They probably bid on this tournament expecting they would not only be welcoming fans but sports tourists to their tranquil nation.

 Even though this development leaves many in the Uganda Netball Federation disappointed, the president is approaching this situation with more calmness than an annoyance.

“I say challenges are part of life and we should learn to leave with them. We should take things the way they come and the key thing in this decision is protecting lives,” Anek said.

The disappointment is understandable across the aisle but like the president always says the girls should not give up.


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