The Botswana national netball youth team will have to be on top of their game if they are to reach the knockout stages of next year’s Youth World Cup in Gaborone, the event’s maiden appearance on African soil.
The draw by the International Netball Federation on Wednesday pitted Botswana alongside Jamaica, Cook Islands, Malaysia and Uganda in Group C.
Jamaica is ranked 4th, Uganda at 11th, and Malaysia at 19th, just one place ahead of Botswana, while Cook Islands sits at 23rd spot.
‘’We should be ambitious and force a breakthrough into the next stage of the tournament; it is important for us as hosts. However, that will require a lot from us; the girls must be up to the task looking at the fact that we have not played well in our past few games and that our pool includes nations ranked above us,” former national team gaffer Gaelisiwe Seipei told Sunday Standard.
She said it was important to have the players engaged at all time in netball activities to maintain focus and endurance ahead of the tournament.
“Despite late preparations all is not lost; we need to pull together in assisting the team. The league has resumed and some of the young girls are competing and gaining experience. My understanding is that the team will play international friendly matches against the likes of Malawi and other nations ahead of the extravaganza which will assist a lot. We delayed in terms of scouting for players to represent the country as we mostly depended on players that competed in the 2013 Africa Youth Games,” Seipei said.
Pool A has paired New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa. Pool B has Australia, South Africa, Barbados, Zimbabwe and Singapore while in Pool D it is England, Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago, Wales and Grenada.