The just ended spectacular Netball Youth World Cup (NYWC), has left good seeds for Botswana sport. According to BONA VP technical Lerato Thebekgosi, the trio of Goal Scorer, Tjeludo David, Goal Defender/ Keeper, Fatima Dino and Kgomotso Matibini have attracted foreign interest in the Australians who are itching to sign them.
“A number of countries have shown interest in the players but an Australian team enquired while they were in a training camp and it continues to enquire on the services of the trio, but it’s not a done deal yet,” Thebekgosi said in an interview.
Further a number of stars in the Dinaletsana team proved that they have the potential to play for the senior national team in the near future, and with the senior team world cup qualifiers next year, a smooth transition is expected from the Under 21 squad.
With the players probably on their way out, the association is working on a plan to continue building a team that would take the baton from the current crop. Information turned up by this paper indicates that a number of countries are also willing to work with BONA as development partners. “But I can only confidently talk about Samoa because they came directly to us for this. Others are there yes, but they haven’t come out clear,” the soft spoken VP said.
It appears a number of countries admire the physical structure of the local players especially the attackers and defence. The mental strength of Botswana players is also a plus for them especially considering the dramatic comeback they fielded against Jamaica.
While some of the charges under the mentorship of Botlhole Setshedi-Mmopi were selected from BISA school games and Botswana Games last year; the netball association is currently drafting a proposal to the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports & Culture Development on how to better assist the team. “We are proposing a sport boot camp to keep Dinaletsana together and add few faces as others will be leaving the team. The camp should be accompanied by regular tournaments which will help the team to gel. This will also help other players who are unemployed and schooling as they will have something to do in their spare time,” Thebekgosi stated. Amantle Never, Tjenesani Mbangiwa, Barati Phesudi, Tjeludo David are some of the players that are currently in senior school.
League resuscitation still a pipedream
Multitudes including the corporate community and government officials have shown great zeal in the sport which prior to the World Cup was regressing with a defunct league as sponsors shied away from the sport. However, it appears it will be long before the league is fully functional. “What we have noticed in our benchmarking is that the league normally comes with sponsors and it is tough to secure those deals, so if we can have regular tournaments it will lead to something. But we are yet to meet as BONA maybe some companies will heed our call,” she added.
Part of the repercussions of being without a league includes the national team going down in International Netball Federation (INF) rankings to occupy the 20th spot. Commentators have called on the leadership to act as the sport took one step forward then two backwards. Meanwhile, the association is expected to continue riding on the hype created by the youth world cup and further build on the ‘legacy’ left by the event. Botswana is expected to qualify for the NYWC in Fiji in four years’ time.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.