Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Is this the year of netball? 

Botswana Netball Association (BONA) public relations officer (PRO) Mokeresete Mokeresete is optimistic this year will be the rise of netball.

Following years of turbulence, this season has started without any hitches. Netball is back on the courts. It’s competitive and the competition is healthy. “We are very happy. We have met expectations and the games have started well,” he says.

Having learnt from previous experiences, he says as BONA they ‘wanted the season to have no challenges.’ And so far, everything is going according to plan. “We learnt from our past. This year we involved our affiliates in the decision-making process.” 

“The breakdown of the league season was released to teams two months prior to the start of the league. Teams therefore had input. Better still, our league committees, both north and south are ready to deliver,” Mokeresete explains.

Regarding competition, the BONA pro says so far, the league is getting even more interesting. “The level of competition,” he says, “has improved as compared to last season.”

He attributes this to teams being more involved as well as BONA making things better. This year, there will be an increase in prize monies. He says this might have also motivated teams to try harder.

“We reviewed league prize monies. Last year, the winner walked away with P10 000. This year, whoever wins the league will get a P25 000 cheque. As for teams finishing in positions 9 to 15, they will each get a P5 000 consolation prize,” the BONA pro explains.

On an even brighter note, BONA has experienced an increase in the number of teams in the north league. as of last year, there were only five (5) teams in the north compared to eight (8) in the south. 

As such, when selecting teams to compete in the last 8 tournament, 5 teams had to come from the south league. The remaining three (3) were then filled by teams from the north.

This year however, three teams have joined the north league. Now it has eight teams. Maun Heros from Maun and Uprising Stars from Palapye are the newest clubs to join, while Morupule have re-registered. 

In view of the latest development, a change on the selections of teams had to be implemented. The top 8 this season will be made of four (4) teams each from the south and the north.

Interestingly, the new teams in the north are also shaking things up. They have already beaten the established ones. On their debut match a weekend ago, Maun Heroes’ ladies team beat TAFIC ladies, while Uprising Stars ladies did the same to Boteti River Giants.

For Mokeresete and BONA, this is a sign that things are getting better. And there is plenty of hope that netball will once again climb back to its lofty perch. 

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