With the My Spar My Botswana league now done and dusted, all eyes are now in Namibia where the senior national team is competing in the second edition of the Debmarine Pent Series. The five nations tournament started yesterday (Saturday) with Botswana playing against hosts Namibia in the tournament opener. Under the direction of coach Abednico Chetelo’s, Botswana will today (Sunday) take on neighbours Zambia for their second match billed for 1500hrs at the Israel Patrick Iyambo Police College in Olympia.
Botswana will then face Zimbabwe tomorrow (Monday) before wrapping up their games with a match against tournament favourites Uganda on Tuesday.
Fresh from competing in the local league, the team’s fitness and endurance is said to be ‘on another level,’ and it is said that they are geared up for the games.
The Botswana team is made up of Violet Moabi, Cheludo David, Patricia Olyn and Hilda Binang as shooters, Gagotheko Tshelametsi, Natasha Maribe, Kelebogile Mangole and Sibusisiwe Mloyi in midcourt while Maipelo Mosotho, Letang Mogothwne, Fatima Dino and Kgomotso Matibini make the team’s defense.
While fitness is of no issue, the team is said to have been working under a lot of pressure to prepare for the games as it has not had enough time to train together and work out combinations.
Due to the short notice and late selection of players, it is said that some players had to be left behind as they could not be released from work by some employers. Despite the minor setbacks, BONA President Malebogo Raditladi said she is positive that the team will represent the country well.
“I have to thank the police department for releasing its athletes though it was short notice; we appreciate their efforts in sports development,” Raditladi said. “Most players could not get released due to late requests,” she explained.
The BONA president said credit is due to My Spar My Botswana league as the selectors had a wide pool of talented and fit players from which they picked the final team.
“The spar league helped a lot because without it we would not be having a fit team for the games,” she explained.
“We need to have a pool of players to select from and not to depend on same players all the time. There is great talent in the country and we will use it accordingly,” Raditladi said.
Concerning the games, the BONA president said games such as the Namibia Pent Series are important as they will help the team ready for the World qualifiers scheduled for August later this year.
The Debmarine Pent Series tournament is sanctioned by the International Netball Federation and will count as ranking games for participating countries.
Zimbabwe are the current champions after winning their entire four games last tournament. Botswana finished fourth at the first edition of the tournament and will be hoping to improve their position this tournament.