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Sponsorship hitch delays BONA take-off

The Botswana Netball Association’s (BONA) intention to start the national league by September hit a snag as the association could not secure a sponsorship deal.

Netball has in the past enjoyed a massive financial backing from the retail giant Spar, but things took sad twist last season when the multinational supermarket announced that they would no longer bankroll BONA due to financial constraints.

 This has left the association in a lurch as the companies seem not interested in the sport despite over-whelming interest shown by Batswana in the game.

Earlier this year when this publication engaged the association about the future of the league, its spokesperson, Ntebogang Maplanka believed that by September the league would have started but that was not to be as BONA hosted the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers in the same month. By then she insisted that the league would start with or without a sponsor.

‘’As BONA we have engaged our affiliates on the status of this year’s league and all our stakeholders are aware of this, so it shouldn’t compromise our league,’’ she said.

Thus far, BONA league is facing much uncertainty as some believe that the league cannot start without a ‘carrot’ guaranteed for the teams.

‘’If teams can be assured that they will be provided with everything like transport and food they will play even if there is no prize money. It is tough to run a club with nothing at stake,’’ a club official who preferred anonymity said.

 But some argue that if they are to attract sponsors they must continue with unsponsored league so that prospective sponsors may see they (clubs) are serious.

Women’s football and the basketball league are struggling to attract sponsors are praying for a miracle.

A questionnaire sent by weekendsports to netball spokesperson was never answered because ‘’there are no answers’’. Maplanka when contacted through a cell phone on Wednesday said they would not release any information until the league committee has reviewed all the developments.

It would appear the league will not be played this year unless some investors come to their rescue as they did when the likes of Mascom and Sprint Couriers came on board and helped BONA host the World Cup qualifiers.

During the launch of Sprint Couriers earlier this year, BONA President Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego said they hoped to continue working with the organisation as the company top brass had shown interest in supporting the association.

Prior to the World Cup qualifiers Botswana was ranked 16th in the world and fifth in Africa but should the league remain dormant Botswana’s ranking is likely to drop.

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