In their quest to prepare and identify talent to represent Botswana in next year’s Youth World cup, the national under 21 netball team travelled to Nhabe region over the weekend. The team interacted with both constituency and local teams with the technical teams hoping to unearth new talent.
It is said that the team’s preparations for the 2017 World cup will gradually intensify as they are bound to also play international practice matches with highly ranked teams. It was also revealed to The Telegraph that the final squad is yet to be finalised hence the ongoing search for players to beef up the squad.
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Vice President Technical Lorato Thebekgosi told The Telegraph that the recently played World cup qualifiers opened their eyes after a dismal performance by the youngsters.
“We were not competitive in the just ended qualifiers which was a concern to the technical team and the local netball fraternity. So we want to engage all regions that were not covered when selecting the junior team. Our technical team is busy around the country in search of players that can boost the team,” said Thebekgosi.
She mentioned that their program includes international matches to gauge strength against the best around the globe. ‘
“We have plans to play against South Africa, Malawi and Australia in our mission to sharpen the players. It is known that Malawi and South Africa are the best in Africa while Australia is the world heavyweight,” added Thebekgosi.
Meanwhile, the appointment of the international coach by BONA has been prolonged with the identified gaffer expected to take charge before the end of the year. Thebekgosi said they have since identified a coach and contract negotiations are ongoing.
“We have started negotiations with the coach and hopefully will commence duty before the end of the year. We are not only looking for a coach that will concentrate on the youth team, we were searching for a mentor who will develop structures within domestic netball and assist local coaches with ambitions to qualify for Commonwealth Games and other major tournaments,” said Thebekgosi.
For her part, BONA President Tebogo Lebotse Sebego said the delay in the appointment of the coach is itching. She said they are working around the clock to conclude negotiations.
“It is frustrating but hopefully we can have the coach available at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) games slated for Angola where the team will compete,” Lebotse Sebego said briefly.