Kenya Netball Federation (KNF) has welcomed the decision by International Netball Federation (INF) to postpone the deadline for the qualifiers of the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup owing to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The postponement is good because our health and that of the players matters a lot. It is also going to give us more time to complete our preparation for the qualifiers once the coronavirus has been managed,” KNF Secretary General Millicent Busolo told Nation Sport.
INF on Monday said it had moved the deadline of the qualifiers from July 31 to October 31, which is open to another extension should the coronavirus pandemic persist.
Kenya is among several countries that were scheduled to travel to Uganda to compete in the continent’s qualifiers for the Netball World Youth Cup from May 4 to 10.
Only the top four teams qualify for the quadrennial event. The 2021 Netball World Youth Cup will take place in Fiji in June.
The Confederation of African Netball Associations (Cana) had on Monday last week said that it will make a decision on whether the region’s qualifiers will go on as planned based on recommendations by World Health Organisation, INF and countries affiliated to the association.
Oceania and America regions had planned to hold their qualifiers tournament in June and July respectively.
“The board will review this on a monthly basis and is prepared to extend the qualification deadline further if need arises. The relevant regional director will discuss the implications of this with the organising committees,” said part of the statement by INF President Liz Nicholl.
Following the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in Kenya on March 13, KNF called-off all netball activities in the country, including the selection of the team to represent the country in the qualifiers tournament.
Kenya is seeking to qualify for the Netball World Youth Cup for the first time ever.
As a way of ensuring netball players across the globe remain engaged in the game during this period of coronavirus pandemic, which has led to cancellation of all sports events globally including the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Nicholl said INF will provide in their websites footages of previous netball tournaments.