Friday, March 31, 2023

Botswana ladies’ rugby team ready for the challenge ahead

The coach of the Botswana ladies 7’s Rugby National team says his charges are ready for the Southern African Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) tournament which starts next Saturday.
The two-day tournament will be hosted by Botswana.

Speaking in an interview, the coach, Shaun Lees, expressed confidence that the team will do well in the tournament.

“We are definitely ready for the tournament. We have prepared as much as we could and even though preparations did not start well, we managed to do all we could with whatever resources we had at our disposal and we are ready,” the ladies’ 7’s rugby mentor said.

According to the coach, the morale within the camp is very high and the ladies have the belief that they can make it past the group stage, where they will face Uganda, Kenya and Madagascar. The group, though still tough is much less tougher than the other one which will have the likes of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Rwanda.

“In our group, we are the underdogs but we believe we will give all the teams a hard time. We have had a chance in our preparations to watch all our opponents and though they are more physically bigger than we are, we believe we are stronger than them. We also analysed all their weaknesses and our aim will be to exploit them,” Lees said.

He says the team has worked hard on its strength and thus at most, the local ladies will be able to take on their opposition despite the physical difference.

“Our major strength is that we can diversify our game and swap player positions, which means players will be fielded in different positions as per the demand of the game or opposition we will be playing against,” Lees said.

The coach is, however, wary of the challenges presented by each of the team his ladies will face, saying though they have had a chance to look and analyse their opponents, they cannot take away the fact that all of them are far more experienced than the local ladies.

“Our major weakness is that we are relatively a very inexperienced side. The only thing that stands us in a good stead is that the bulk of this team has been together since 2008,” Lees added. On whether he has formulised his strategies, Lees said though he cannot divulge anything, they have devised strategies for each team they will face. He says as underdogs, the local ladies have no pressure and thus will be able to play freely.

Though the team has not been announced yet, the locals will likely rely on the team’s long serving players, like Masego Aston and Tjeludo Monyai, while the new blood, in the form of Poloko Morwalela and Claire Davies, are expected to make the team to add new impetus to it.

The coach could, however, not be drawn into discussing who will make the squad or who the team will look up to during the games, saying all the players that will be chosen in the final team will add a certain dimension to the overall team effort.

“Every single player who will be selected has her own quality, which we believe will benefit the team,” the coach concluded.

Meanwhile, the local ladies will start their final camp ahead of the weekend tournament this coming Monday.

Though the details of the final camp were not available by press time, it is expected the team will be in camp until Friday when they will join the other teams at the Oasis Lodge, which has been designated as the teams’ accommodation place for the tournament.


Read this week's paper