With bated breath and eager anticipation, the cricketing fraternity in Potchefstroom and the greater North West watched the long-awaited announcement of the eight host cities for the 2017 T20 Global League tournament on Monday afternoon.
The champagne that was put on ice was never opened as gleeful excitement turned into the severest of Monday blues for North West Cricket and its hardworking personnel when Potchefstroom was not selected as a host city.
Baffled, deeply disappointed and at a loss for words is probably the best way to describe the feeling of having an opportunity ripped away at the last moment. It was almost like Duckworth/Lewis raining on the parade – a victory taken away at the last minute.
This tournament will bring IPL style T20 cricket to South Africa with local and global stars gracing South African shores in a sporting and entertainment spectacle that will be a huge financial boost to our country.
North West Cricket and Senwes Park have been at the forefront of cricketing innovation and the review of our city’s cricketing facilities has been five-star, to say the least. It would be safe to say that Potchefstroom deserved its place among the eight hosts of this tournament with its outstanding track record.
It is an absolute no-brainer that Potchefstroom should have been chosen as one of the host cities. The all-in-one sporting destination for various overseas athletes and teams, its location, climate and altitude and its reputation as a world-class sporting hub are just some reasons to look at.
Furthermore, the allocation of host cities seems to deprive South Africa of genuine development across the country. For example, Gauteng has three host cities (Johannesburg, Pretoria and Benoni) while the Western Cape has two (Cape Town and Stellenbosch). it would have made sense to give one of those spots − either Benoni or Stellenbosch − to Potchefstroom.
Potchefstroom is also a sports-mad city and it would have generated a whole lot of support for its franchise. The university has also been a breeding ground for talent and what better way than to integrate the talent into the professional system than through experience built up in a Global T20 franchise team. The franchise owners and Cricket South Africa have definitely missed a trick here.
Sadly, what’s done is done and now Potchefstroomers will have to watch the action from the telly and not their beloved Senwes Park this coming November.
That’s just not cricket.