The Botswana Netball National team’s road to Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will start in earnest this coming Tuesday when the team takes on Zambia in their first game of the 3rd Africa Netball Championships.
The games will be hosted in Blantyre, Malawi, from the 24th to the 28th of this month. With the games being ranked, a solid performance at the games will put Botswana in good stand to make it into the top twelve teams that are eligible to compete at the games.
The team, which is made up of twelve players, left the country for the games this past Thursday night and is expected back in the country a day after the games on the 29th. However, with the team pitted in a group consisting of, among others, hosts and Africa’s top ranked team, Malawi, as well as Zambia, who are one of the fastest growing teams in the continent, the road is not expected to be easy for the local girls.
Should Botswana come second in their group, the team will probably then face another powerhouse in the form of the continent’s second highest ranked team, South Africa, who together with Malawi are the favourites to clinch the top two positions and make the Commonwealth Games.
Addressing the team ahead of their journey to Malawi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC), Tuelo Serufho, expressed hope that the team will put in a good show at the games.
He advised them to have fun at the games and give the best they can on the playing courts. Serufho said he is hopeful that the team will give 150 percent on the courts and in the process ‘become Botswana’s first ball sport team to make it to a major event like the commonwealth or the Olympics.’
Serufho assured the team that the BNOC, together with other stakeholders will give the team all the needed support.
For her part, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President, Tebogo Lebotse, advised the team to keep their integrity at all times while at the games. She said if the team can only concentrate on playing, and avoid negative energies during their stay at the championships, they can make it into the top two positions.
The BONA President expressed happiness with the team preparations for the games, adding that BONA has done all possible to ensure that the team is ‘prepared as much as possible.’
For his part, A Monnakgotla of AT&T Monnakgotla, who are one of the team’s sponsors, assured the team that his company will ensure they safely travel to and from Malawi. Monnakgotla, whose company availed a bus for the team to travel said his doors ‘will always be open should the team need help.’
The Botswana team is made up of Kagisano Mawela, Goitsemodimo Dikinya, Ntebogang Motlakaloso, Kelebogile Mangole, Florah Keeditse, Tumisang Bagidi, Francinah Eyman, Hildah Binang, Gagotheko Tshelametsi, Portia Rasekhumba, Tshegofatso Tlhabuswe and Thulaganyo Retshabile. The games will pit Botswana against Africa’s finest netballing countries such as: South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia and Swaziland.