Thursday, April 25, 2024

Lacklustre showing in Uganda bodes badly for Botswana netball

The senior national netball team has lost its footing on its resounding performance of the past. 

The just-ended Africa Netball Championships that were held in Uganda has proved that netball in Botswana continues to decline after the country lost three of their four matches at the African showpiece dismally.

Netball pundits have attributed the lack of inspirational tale that put Botswana among African heavyweights to lack of a consistent domestic league set-up. This has witnessed netball players flooding the constituency leagues around the country funded by government. 

In recent times, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) relied on the short My Spar Netball Tournament that had little impact on the development of the sport.

Sitting on the 18th spot in the International Netball Federation (INF) World netball rankings, Botswana lost places from the 16th position that they held over years that saw the team qualifying for two consecutive World Cup competitions. 

Botswana has turned into the whipping girls of Africa due to consistent poor regional and continental outings and risk dropping down in the world rankings. 

Closely breathing on the neck of Botswana sitting in the 19th spot of the world rankings is Singapore which has an aggressive development structure and continues to improve.

In their last matches at the African Cup, Botswana heavily lost 29-72 to Uganda in the tournament opener. The loss was followed by another when they went down to neighbours Zambia by 42-57. Botswana lost yet another match to Zimbabwe and managed a single victory against Namibia winning 56-46.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, former national team player and BDF Cats coach Neo Ntwayagae grilled BONA’s selection criteria of coaches for the national team. She said it was critical to bring on board the right personnel for those taking over as national coaches. 

“It is a fact that we do not do the right things for the sake of netball in the country. We always  see coaches that fail their teams roped in and expect them to do better at national level when they can’t prove that at club level, so it is vital that we look into such matters,” said Ntwayagae.

She said despite lack of funds at the association, BONA should strive to source sponsorship that will be used to assist in seeking international practice matches for the national team and training camps to help in maintaining consistency of the team. 

“We need to have a pool of players that can represent the country at any time who are fit. The technical officers at BONA need to stand up and do their job for the sake of netball in the country. It was embarrassing for a team to be assembled in three days and expect it to compete against the best in Africa,” said Ntwayagae.


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