Botswana Netball Association (BONA) is over the moon after the junior team gave a fitting performance at the African Union Sports Commission games (AUSC) held in Angola this week.
MaLittle, as the youngsters are affectionately known, have scooped a silver medal at the games.
Despite losing 25 ÔÇô 32 to perennial rivals South Africa in a tightly contested final, the local Under 20 girls gave their opponents a good run for their money.
BONA is proudly satisfied with the performance of the youngsters after reaching the finals of the tournament.
On the way to the finals, the youngsters, popularly known as Ma Little in the local scene, swept aside the likes of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Lesotho while going down by a slender gap to African powerhouse South Africa. Despite the Young Proteas beating Ma Little 36-28 on Wednesday during their first encounter, Botswana has closed the gap that recently witnessed the nation’s downfall in the netball arena that led to dropping international rankings.
The celebrated sterling performance has given BONA hope that the team’s form will be advanced to their 2017 Youth World Cup preparations with just six months prior to Botswana hosting the extravaganza.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, BONA president Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego said they were impressed with the team’s performance and the improvement ahead of the World Cup. ‘’We are excited and impressed with the team’s performance so far. We still have a lot of work to do with limited time. It is only six months prior to hosting the World Cup and the little time have to be well utilised,” Lebotse-Sebego said.
She revealed that in absence of an international mentor, BONA engaged local experts to guide the team. “We have opted to engage a technical advisor to work with the two local coaches who led the team during the qualifiers and she travelled with the team to Angola,” added Lebotse-Sebego.
After an extensive search of players countrywide to represent the country next year, some have made it for final selection. Ten of the players are said to be currently on camp while some of the players made part of the team to Angola. “In total we have a good selection from about 20 players, Lebotse-Sebego said.
Meanwhile, she was honoured at the games with a medal of honour under the category of sports administrator for the AUSC Zone 5. “I am truly humbled and grateful to Africa and Botswana netball for the continued support and belief,” Lebotse-Sebego said.