After an intensive global search, the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has reportedly identified a national coach and overseer of the development under 21 squad. Reports indicate that BONA is currently negotiating terms with the identified candidate and the new mentor will likely occupy the hot seat before the end of the month.
Though BONA officials were last week not forthcoming with information on who has been appointed national team coach, Sunday Standard has it in good authority that the screening of candidates has been completed and an announcement will be made soon. BONA President Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego confirmed in an interview that negotiations are ongoing with the identified coach, who will soon take charge of the under 21 team that has already kick-started preparations of the netball under 21 World Cup slated for Gaborone, Botswana next year.
There are concerns that the coach, who is expected to be formally announced in the near future, will have little time to build a strong team that can compete against the best in the world.
However, Lebotse-Sebego said the Technical Committee is aware that time is running out and has been working hard to finalise the deal.
“We have concluded interviews for a coach and are now at the negotiating stage. We will hopefully make an announcement soon,” she said.
A large pool of netball players is currently on a preparatory camp for initial identification. Lebotse-Sebego revealed that they already have a selection squad of about 40 players who have previously been exposed to the 2nd Africa Youth Games and Botswana Games. BONA’s preparations will be reversed by the Association’s failure to identify a sponsor for a competitive league that could boost their preparedness for the championships. This had led to a decline in performance of the nation’s netball teams, as Botswana slid two places down from 16th to 18th spot in the latest International Netball Federation (INF) rankings.
“It’s a challenge to identify a sponsor, but we haven’t given up and we are still looking. The people we have engaged so far are not forthcoming but we will continue our search,” said Lebotse-Sebego.
Meanwhile, BONA will together with the INF launch a countdown campaign for the under 21 netball world cup.
“The marketing team will soon start working with the INF on various campaigns ahead of the games. It’s at times like these that the nation needs to rally behind their country and support the games,” she said.
BONA had advertised the post of national team coach internationally, indicating that they were looking for a coach who has international experience at elite level. The candidate was required to hold a recognised Level 2 netball coaching qualification or higher and have proven coaching success at international or elite national level.