Botswana’s dream to qualify for the upcoming Liverpool 2019 netball World cup hangs in the balance following a string of poor performances in recent times by the netball national team.
The World netball extravaganza is slated for 13th to 18th August in the Zambia, Botswana is yet to to convince netball analysts that it is force to reckon with.
This is evidenced by Botswana’s poor showing at the just ended Namibian Debmarine Pent series where the netball team got fourth position. Hosts Namibia emerged victorious while Zimbabwe scooped silver and Zambia walked away with bronze. In all their games, Botswana only beat Zimbabwe 43-41.
With 16 nations expected to compete for the coveted World cup trophy, five teams have already qualified with the other five teams expected to qualify automatically if they are in the top five of the International Netball Federation (INF) ranking to be released beginning of July. Botswana has dropped in rankings over the years and for the first time in history lost to Namibia over the past week in a historical achievement for the neighbours.
The INF is yet to announce nations that will compete at the qualifiers in Zambia for the African region and other regions while qualifiers for the Oceania region witnessed Fiji and Samoa making it to the finals.
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President Malebo Raditladi said they are confident that the team will fight to get back to winning ways when they were ranked among the heavyweight nations of African netball.
‘’We believe we will bounce back shortly and stand a chance to qualify for the World cup next year. Despite the team losing in Namibia at the Pent series, we did not take a strong team to the competition as our players were not released,” Raditladi said.
She said they are still challenged financially as it is not easy to prepare the squad ahead of critical matches without funds.
‘’We are face with funding challenges to have the team in camp for a reasonable period before international matches. However, we will be having players called for national duty at least training together once or twice a week this month and have a full training camp in July for the sake of having a competitive squad to compete for the World cup slot,” she said.
Raditladi added that “The congested league is also assisting us in another way as players are exposed to containing pressure during tough situations which may assist as we play against the best.”