Botswana national ladies golf team will be aiming for an improved performance when they face off against other Southern African countries’ ladies golf national teams in the Southern Regional All Africa Challenge Trophy. The tournament, which starts tomorrow (Monday) and is hosted by Namibia, will see the local ladies face off against fellow golfers from countries such as South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique as well as hosts Namibia. After years of not making any serious challenge in the tournament, the local ladies say they are now aiming for a position not lower than third at the tournament. This is despite the country sending a team comprising of only one experienced player in Minkie Molatlhegi and three development players who will be making a national team debut.
The other three players in the team are Siphiwe Sankuta, Lorato Sankuta as well as Itumeleng Medupe. According to the Botswana Ladies Golf Union President, Beke Mbakile, the current team is ready to take the challenge and improve where the previous teams came short. Speaking in an interview, Mbakile, who will also lead the team as its manager, said despite having competed in all previous Southern Regional All Africa Challenge tournaments, the country has always produced ‘average performances,’ a trend which they intend to stop. The Botswana team manager says her optimism for a much improved performance stems from the improved performances by team Botswana at the much bigger All Africa Challenge which was held in Kenya last year.
While the games are usually used as preparatory games for the All Africa Challenge Trophy, Mbakile said they deliberately took the decision to take the inexperienced players as a way of helping them grow from amateurs and hopefully into national team players. On the selection of Molatlhegi as the only experienced player in the team, Mbakile said she was selected to captain and guide the youthful team as she is the number one ranked ladies player in the country and has been in the national team setup for over four years. For her part, Molatlhegi expressed her team managers’ sentiments that she expects the team to do well at the tournament. As the most experienced and best handicapped player in the team, Molatlhegi, who is the team captain, said she will be guiding the youthful team. She said as their senior, she has been giving them advice on how to tackle stage fright when they make their national team debut at the tournament. On preparations, Molatlhegi said despite the restrictions that come with being full time employees, the team has put in a considerable amount of time honing their skills ahead of the tournament. The team, which left the country this past Wednesday, is expected back in the country on May 1.