The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) says preparations are ongoing as the country readies to host Africa Regional Qualifiers.
Despite BONA still trying to solicit support from private sponsors for the netball World Cup qualifying event, the association says its progress is being done as BONA seeks to host successful games.
BONA President, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego, says while a search for private partners continues, the association has also appealed to the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) for supplementary funding to ensure that the games are a success.
To speed up the preparations, Lebotse-Sebego says the association has constituted a Local Organising Committee (LOC), led by the association’s Marketing and Publicity to spearhead the games’ preparations.
Aside from the search for private partners, the BONA President says ever since the 2nd Africa Youth Games, her association has been working with the International Netball Federation (INF) to help in preparations.
With this being international ranking games, Lebotse-Sebego said the INF has already appointed international umpires to adjudicate the games.
She says among the umpires, two of them, being Botswana’s own Abednico Chetelo and Lillian Mooki have been appointed to adjudicate at the games.
“BONA has since the Africa Youth Games been working with the INF and the Technical Delegate (TD) for the 2017 World Youth Cup to identify and train Match Bench Officials (MBO). A total of 25 MBOs were trained and utilized for the Youth Games,” she explained.
She said ever since, the association has carried out several practice opportunities for the MBO’s in preparation for the games. She said among events used for such practice opportunities are the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) games, Botswana Primary Schools Sports Associations (BOPSSA) games, BONA SPAR SuperStars and the just ended England Tour.
Meanwhile, the BONA president says they are still awaiting confirmation of participation from two of the nine countries expected to compete at the games. Apart from Botswana, who are the hosts, the countries which have confirmed participation are Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Lesotho and Swaziland are however yet to confirm their participation.
From the qualifiers, Lebotse-Sebego said only two teams will qualify for the World Cup which is slated for Sidney, Australia in August next year.
Should eight or all the nine teams expected to compete in the Africa Qualifiers all confirm, the BONA President said the teams will then be divided into two pools, with the top two in each pool progressing into the next elimination to determine the ‘ultimate two teams’ that will go to the World Cup.
“However, if less than eight countries confirm, then all the teams will play a round robin system to determine the top two who will qualify for the World Cup,” she explained. The Africa World qualifiers, which will played at the BONA courts are schedule to take place from September 14 to 20.