Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Battle lines drawn for National Netball colours

The Greek mythology has it that when the Greek deities, the Olympians, challenged their parents and the then supreme leaders, the Titans, for the control of the universe, the war was so fierce the earth shook and volcanoes erupted.

Things will figuratively be the same this weekend in the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Motor Centre Netball Series when 36 of Botswana’s elite netballers take on each other for places in the National Team.

In what is prospectively the most salivating netball festival of the year and with all positions on the line, two select teams of 12 players each from the South and North zones will battle it out against the current National team players in a mini tournament to determine who will don the National colours.

The series also features a yet to be named provincial select team from South Africa. It is expected that when the Motor Centre Group sponsored tournament ends on Sunday, a provisional team of 20 players will be named into the national team.

Speaking in an interview with Telegraph Sport, the National Netball coach, Ms Seipei Gaelesiwe, said she is happy at the latest development as it will help ensure all the best players are available for selection into the national team. She says the new selection process will eliminate controversies, which have always cropped up on the selection of national players.

Gaelesiwe says, in the past, teams were requested to submit the names of at least four players each to take part in trials for the national team, a process which she admits was not working out well.
She says this time around, they have put in each zone coordinators and selectors to select players based on their performances in the netball leagues. “There has always been the impression among the netball community that only players from the south or sometimes only players from the top teams are selected into the national team. We hope this new system will correct this,” she told Telegraph Sport.

The coach says after the selection, players who make it into the team will on the 11th of July take part in the 2010 Mascom Phikwe marathon as a way of building stamina and supporting athletics in the country. Gaelesiwe says after the Phikwe event, players will from time to time be called for weekend training camps in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers billed for September this year. Gaelesiwe says she is very optimistic that the team will make it through the qualifiers where they are expected to face 10 other African Nations for the two places on the line to accompany Malawi to the World Cup games.

Though wary of the threat posed by each of the teams, more especially the South Africans, Gaelesiwe says they will be ready for the qualifiers, adding that the only problematic area for her charges has always been their height not their tactical acumen.

Meanwhile, the president of the Botswana Netball Association, Tebogo Lebotse, says the Motor Center Series is expected to be launched on Saturday morning just before the games. The BONA president says the launch will be graced by dignitaries from the Motor Centre Group as well as the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) president, Negroes Kgosietsile, who will be the guest of honour.

She adds that at the end of the games on Sunday, she hopes the head coach will engage them on plans and preparations for the National team. Lebotse also confirmed that all games scheduled for the weekend have been postponed to accommodate the BONA series.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.