Just a mere mention of the tagline #ReABaTsaya is enough to evoke memories of the formidable Botswana’s young netballers sparkling in the court during the Gaborone 2017 Netball Youth World Cup.
Affectionately known as ‘Dinaletsana,’ the local lasses danced their way into the hearts of Batswana, a glimmer of hope for the then dwindling fortunes of Botswana netball.
A year on, signs are starting to emerge that the team that carried the hopes and aspirations of Batswana may now be on the brink of disappearing into oblivion.
Sunday Standard investigations have unearthed that the iconic team has since been neglected by Botswana Netball Association (BONA).
According to sources, ever since the end of the Gaborone 2017 Netball Youth World Cup, the team once seemingly destined for greatness has been abandoned.
The situation is said to have been not helped by players’ dismal academic performances, while some are alleged to have quit due to inactivity in formal netball league.
“Upon completion of the World cup last year the team was diffused and nothing positive has been done. It is unfortunate that majority of the players did not do well in their Cambridge and are sitting home in their home villages without monitoring for continuity as some are capable of making it into the senior national team in future,” a source told Sunday Standard.
While the national selectors are busy in their efforts to assemble the national team, it has emerged that due to lack of activity in the netball arena, it has been settled to bring on board constituency league players in selection camps ahead of the once promising tried and tested ‘Dinaletsana’ players who shone during the World cup.
“National selectors have already conducted two selection camps ahead of the final selection and many players from the constituency league thronged the camps in the absence of talent that was witnessed last year during the World cup. With the combination of developed players and constituency players, the standard of selection were below par as it was clear that there was a huge gap between the players,” a source narrated.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, BONA Vice President Technical Lorato Thebekgosi said they had drafted a comprehensive plan to keep the youngsters together but they failed due to financial constraints.
“At this moment there is nothing much we can do without funds. We have met with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to assist with the Zebra elite scholarships for players that were identified by the Australians during the World cup but still awaiting their feedback,” said Thebekgosi.
The BONA VP Technical further confirmed that the national team selectors had invited some constituency league players to national team selection camps in an effort to unearth new talent.
‘’We have asked from our zones to identify talent in the constituency league as we are currently working on assembling a team that will play in the World cup qualifiers later this year,” said Thebekgosi.