The past weeks has been filled with euphoria for local netball players with social media reporting that awards will be hosted to recognize their hard work.
With netball not having been actively played for a while, the self-acclaimed Bafenyi Netball Awards seemed to offer a glimmer of hope for local netball.
The euphoria was however short lived as Botswana Netball Association (BONA) finally cautioned against the event, which it turns out, they had not sanctioned and was not legal.
In a letter dated September 4th 2020 and signed by BONA secretary General Mmaneke Maplanka, the association warned its affiliates ‘not to participate in any awards as they have not sanctioned them as the mother body.’
In the letter, the BONA National Executive Committee (NEC) informed affiliates ‘it does not have any information pertaining the said awards.’
BONA reminded affiliates to always abide by the association code of conduct as ratified by the general assembly.
It also warned affiliates that ‘failure to do so may result in a disciplinary hearing as per the code.’
Reached for comment, BONA President Malebo Raditladi said they only heard of the awards from BONA members during the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) last weekend.
She says a ruling was then made ‘to stop the organizers from hosting the awards using BONA affiliates.’
“The association or its members were never consulted. All our members are aware that they need to follow the procedures in order to get netball back and give it the dignity it deserves,” Raditladi explained.
While BONA is open for help from everyone, she however said the association can never be used by individuals to serve their own interest which do not represent the interest of members.
“We take every opportunity to make things right at BONA and those who value our efforts always consult with us if there is anything they want to assist with,” she explained.
Raditladi argued that they want BONA to be a dignified body that runs with regulations and procedures not where everybody does as they wish.
“BONA is regulated by the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to run all matters of netball nationally.”
Meanwhile, Raditladi said she is not aware that some players were behind the creation of the none sanctioned awards.
“We are not aware of any of our players who has invested in the awards and our members would have informed us at the AGM when they reported the matter. In the deliberations we had, nothing was mentioned. Our decision therefore should not hurt or demoralize the players,” she said.
For his part, the director of the ill-fated Bafenyi netball awards Edwin Mothoiwa says their initiative was meant ‘to empower young netball players and as to give them hope.’
“BONA asked us about the awards and we explained that we were supposed to hold a tournament for the players. We however could not host it due to the covid19 pandemic and we replaced it with the awards,” he explained.
He says following the BONA enquiry, they had expected feedback but were surprised when they were called at the police station after the association reported them.
“BONA office has not officially communicated with me ever since on what laws we have infringed in hosting those awards. We still do not know what their contention is. The only reason given is that as a non affiliate club we have used or nominated the affiliate members,” added Mothoiwa.
He further added that this has killed the morale of the players, as everyone was engaged in the voting process and excited to be part of the awards.
Mothoiwa says since the recent events, they have not met with BONA or its officials to resolve the issue.
He however said the awards’ Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has resorted to exclude BONA affiliates’ players, put the awards on hold and resolve issues.
Once the LOC has taken care of issues surrounding the awards, he is confident that the Bafenyi netball awards will take place.
Mothoiwa said his intention is to contribute to the growth of netball and not to get in the way of BONA.
“I wish to help registered players by opening a sports trust that will focus on helping those who are not able, and they will be developed through the trust,” he said.
He urged players not to lose hope, saying ‘they should know that we recognize their talent and contribution to netball.’
“We should stand together in fighting the injustices that exist within our sporting code, hence building a legacy for generations to come,” added Mothoiwa.
“We have been using BONA affiliates from way back in 2014 in our tournaments and they never showed they have a problem with it. In any case we apologize for using their affiliates,” Mothoiwa concluded.