On the 10th of April this year, the Botswana Netball Association (BoNA) will head for its elective General Meeting.
For the current BoNA executive committee led by Malebo Raditladi, the elective AGM will mark a culmination of a very difficult tenure at the helm.
As she and probably many of her current committee members contemplate whether to stand or not for re-election, the events of their tumultuous tenure at the helm will obviously be weighing heavily in their minds.
“Whether I stand for re-election will be decided by the affiliates,” Raditladi says. “If they want me to continue, I will,” she says.
Since ascending to the helm after the highs of the largely successful Netball Youth World cup, popularly known by the catchphrase ‘Re a Ba tsaa,’ things have not gone as planned.
To a large extent, the Raditladi led executive committee has been blamed for ‘not riding the wave of ‘Re A Ba Tsaa’ to take netball to new heights.
From the euphoria of the netball youth world cup, there has relatively been no local netball competition in the country.
At the same time, the once promising players of the ‘Re A Ba Bona’ fame have seemingly grown disillusioned with the game as they feel abandoned, thanks to what they perceive ‘unfulfilled promises.’
Commenting on the matter, Raditladi said when they took over, there were a lot of unknown hurdles that stopped them from ‘taking netball to the expected next level.’
“For starters, when we took over, we came to a realisation that almost all the BoNA affiliates were non-compliant with the registrar of societies,” she says.
“Since taking over, we have been fighting to help these teams comply. Fortunately, at this moment, 80 percent of them have complied,” says Raditladi.
The BoNA president says another major hurdle was the failure to pay for debts incurred during the Re A BA Tsaya showpiece.
“From the moment we took over, a lot of service providers have come forth claiming not to have been paid for their services,” she says.
“Most of these have been passed to the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and as such, the commission has been taking from our grants to pay them where it is proved they are indeed owed,” Raditladi explains.
She went on to add that at the moment, they are still waiting to hear from the BNSC whether all their creditors have been paid.
Concerning what seems to be a desertion of BoNA by sponsors, Raditladi said contrary to that, sponsors have not ditched them.
“As you may be aware, some of these sponsors partnered us during the Re A Ba Tsaya tournament. As such, they need to see the audited reports of Re A Ba Tsaya to see how their funds were used before they can fund again,” she says.
The BoNA president says fortunately, BNSC has promised that the audited reports will be released shortly.
On the league, she says as most of the clubs had complied, the association was hoping to have started playing matches this year, but the current COVID-19 situation has halted them.
Raditladi is however optimistic that once the situation normalises, netball will resume activities.
She says in the past few years, they have set proper structures on which to rebuild the sport.
“As BoNA we have our audits in order and so are our affiliates. We have also trained 30 personnel from our affiliates on sports administration. We intend now to train them on club administration,” she says.
Raditladi went on to add that during their tenure, they have also managed to write a financial manual as well as an administration manual for BoNA.
“Whoever comes on to lead BoNA in future will find all these in place and we are hopeful they will find the association in a better place,” she concludes.