A date with destiny beckons for Botswana senior national netball team as the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers kick off in Pretoria, South Africa this coming weekend.
At least ten (10) African countries are expected to take part in the tournament which will take place at the University of Pretoria Indoor from the 21st to the 29th August 2022. The tournament will determine two African countries who will join South Africa and Uganda as the continent’s representatives at the first ever senior women netball world cup to be held in Africa. The tournament will be hosted in Cape Town, South Africa from 28th July to 6th August 2023.
South Africa, who are ranked 5th in the World have already qualified by virtue of being hosts. With the Top 5 ranked countries given an automatic qualifying spot, World 6th ranked Uganda has qualified by virtue of replacing South Africa to make the last automatic qualifying spot.
The ten (10) African countries taking part have already been divided into two pool groups, being Pool A and B. Botswana has been placed in Pool A consisting of hosts South Africa as well as Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Pool B is made of Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Eswatini and Kenya.
Botswana will kick start her World Cup bid against Namibia this coming Sunday (21 August), before taking on South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August in that respective order.
Aside from being part of history as participants in the first ever senior women netball world cup hosted in Africa, qualifying will mark a return to netball’s high table for Botswana in more than a decade.
Botswana has made only two appearances at the World Cup. The first appearance was in 2007 in Auckland, New Zealand where they finished 10th in the final standings. Their last appearance came in 2011 in Singapore where they finished 13th in the final standings.
Team Botswana for the Africa netball World Cup qualifiers is made of Tumisang Bagidi, Margaret Banda, Hildah Binang, Cheludo David, Fatima Dino, Kelebogile Mangole, Kgomotso Matibini Kgomotso, Letang Mogotlhwane, Kearoma Mosotho, Ntebogang Motlakaloso, Barati Phesodi, Beauty Radiseong, Maungo Simone and Gosego Tsele.
The team is already in South Africa having left the country this past weekend. Botswana netball’s hope for a return to the World Cup have been boosted by the presence of South African coach Jenny van Dyk.
With an undeniable knack for winning gold, van Dyk is one of the most highly rated coaches in South Africa. She came to Botswana on secondment from Netball South Africa as part of the latter’s Netball World Cup Legacy Programme.