The road to the Lucara Botswana Netball League national Top 8 tournament may be clearer in the North Zone, but in the South Zone, controversy is lurking around the corner.
This past weekend, the North Zone wrapped up its zonal league season and the three ladies’ teams going to the Top 8 are just waiting for official confirmation. In the South Zone however, the teams are yet to complete the first round of the league season.
On Sunday, things got a little testy as the South Zone league committee decided to postpone matches slated for that day. The decision, which was taken without informing the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) National Executive Committee (NEC) left the latter seething.
Only three weekends are left before all the zones are expected to announce teams which will compete at the Top 8 tournaments. Now, the South Zone’s unexpected decision has left the BONA NEC wondering if the league will conclude on time.
By this past Monday afternoon, the BONA leadership was allegedly still waiting to hear reasons for the unannounced postponement of the games. “We do not know the reasons for the postponement of the games. We will have a meeting with the South Zone league committee this evening and we hope they will be able to give our stakeholders answers,” BONA Public Relations Mokeresete Mokeresete said.
The association leadership will expect to hear from the South Zone league committee how they plan to complete all the remaining first and second matches in a space of three weekends. BONA expects to have the names of all Top 8 tournament destined teams by end of day on the 23rd of October.
“We have already scheduled the Top 8 tournament to take place on the 29th and 30th of October. The draw and the fixtures for the tournament should be done once we have all the names of the teams who have made it through,” he explained.
According to Mokeresete, for the Top 8 tournament, they expect to have three ladies’ teams from the North and five from the South. “As you may be aware, we only have five teams in the North Zone and seven in the South Zone, hence the decision for a 3:5 teams ration,” Mokeresete said. From the tournament, four teams will then proceed to the finals.
Regarding the men’s league, Mokeresete said they are not scheduled to play in the Top 8 tournament. Rather, they will only have four teams, one from the North and three from the South proceeding directly to the finals.
Meanwhile, in the games that were played in the south on Saturday, Notwane Ladies enhanced their chances to make the Top 8 with a 47 – 41 win over Vipers. In an interesting match of the day, the teenagers of Jwaneng derailed UB Crystals’ Top 8 bid as they beat them 26 – 22 in a tightly contested match. Jwaneng however came unstuck in the last match of the day as they lost 11 – 39 to BDF Cats.
In the North, TASC, TAFIC and Thunderbolts are all but through to the Top 8. The ladies weekend results from the North Zone are as follows; TASC 34 – 24Thunderbolts, TAFIC 51 – 34 NICO United, TASC 76 – 24 Boteti River Giants, Thunderbolts 41 – 27 NICO United, Boteti River Giants 13 – 68 TAFIC.