Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has selected players who will represent the country in the Pent Series Africa Netball Cup which will be held at Windhoek, Namibia on the 9th to the 16th of November, 2021.
The selections were held this past Saturday 16th October in the morning at the BONA courts in Gaborone. Players selected are expected to start training on the 22nd to the 24th later this month and will have a final training camp from the 28th to the 6th November before the team leaves on the 7th of November for the games. The team will be under the guidance of head coach Sithulile Mlotsha, who will be assisted by Neo Ntwaagae.
With no point of reference to guide the team selection, BONA Marketing and Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mokeresete Mokeresete, said the technical team and BONA had to come up with a way to guide team selection.
“Our point of reference that we may use is from 2019 backwards. We saw it fit to focus on 2017, 2018 and 2019 players who showed great potential despite not being part of national team call up, as well as those who were part of the national team call up,” he explained.
“Coach has assembled all these players, a provisional squad of about 36 players have been called up, and will be assessed over the weekend,” added Mokeresete.
The BONA PRO noted that netball has not returned to play except for national teams, adding that the under 18 squad is busy training, as well as the senior team which we are yet to assemble.
“We are working around the clock to start off netball games by beginning of December. We will be having a tournament dubbed ‘Return back to play tournament’ in December and we will use it to see how much prepared are we for the league. End of January or beginning of February we intend to start the league games, for both of them we have already secured sponsors, and will launch them by November,” Mokeresete explained.
When asked if the selections for the national team will see competitions being staged, Mokeresete had this to say “No, we will not be having any competitions for selections, throughout the weekend the players will be selected by the coach, and will go on camp.”
He further noted that this Africa Nations cup will be of great benefit for the country. He said “Our previous participation in the same tournament was not good at all. Out of all 7 nations that took part in 2018, we got position 5. We are not happy with the results, we want to be in the top 3 and improve on our last results.” He further noted that they want to better their rankings as they are number 27 currently.
“We will be having world cup qualifiers next year, we are using this tournament to give our players match fitness against other nations, we want to improve their confidence as well,” Mokeresete opined.
Moreover, the BONA PRO noted that Batswana should rally behind their team as they give it their all. He said “we want our girls to bring a bronze, hence going our to represent the country well.”
“We will execute our preparation plan very well before the team leaves for the competition, we have not secured any friendly game but we are working on it, ” concluded Mokeresete.