Thursday, October 28, 2021

Bagidi ÔÇô the future of Botswana netball

At barely 17 years of age, Tumisang Bagidi is proving to be one of the most talented young netballers to come out of Botswana in recent years. Though mostly played as a goal shooter or even goal attacker, Bagidi is a versatile player with an amazing ability to play from almost any position in the court, something which makes her a rare talent.

The youngster, who says she was inspired by her cousin to play netball, has, as described by her coach at Notwane, Sithulile Mlotshwa and Botswana Netball Association (BONA) chief Tebogo Lebotse, ‘the potential to be the best netballer ever to have come out of the country.’

Speaking to Standard Sport, Bagidi says she fell in love with netball when she was doing her Standard Five at Block 5 Primary School after watching her cousin play in the school team.

This love for the sport grew and continued when she got to Tlogatloga Junior Secondary, where she met Kelebogile Motsuminyane who then recruited her to join Notwane. At only 14, Bagidi then became the youngest to player in the elite netball league while it was still sponsored by Debswana. Ever since then, her star has continued to shine and she has become an anathema to any defence that faces her in the court, something which made her to be the youngest player to be drafted in the national Under 21 at the age of 16.

Despite possessing a small physical frame, the youngster says this is not a hindrance when coming against bigger opponents.

“All I have to do is play according to the technical team’s instructions and use my speed, while at the same time avoiding excessive physical contact in the court,” Bagidi informed Standard Sport.
According to her club coach Mlotshwa, Bagidi is one of the most disciplined players, whose passion for netball runs deep.

“At the moment, I believe she qualifies to play for the national team. She is mentally strong, something which enables her to play against the most physical of players,” Mlotshwa added.

Lebotse echoed Mlotshwa’s sentiments, saying that ‘if it was according to me, I would draft her into the senior national team even if it’s for development purposes only.’

According to Lebotse, it would be a good investment if the youngster can get as much international exposure as possible, something which can even help her find external sport sponsorship.

“My wish is to get a sport scholarship to train outside the country in a professional setup. My biggest ambition is, however, to represent my country at the highest level, the senior national team,” says the youngster, who was voted netball’s player of the tournament at last year’s Under 20 Supreme Council of Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone 6 games where she helped Botswana finish in third position.

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