Six years ago when Tebogo Lebotse assumed the leadership of the Botswana Netball Association (BONA), the netball mother body was in an unenviable situation. The BONA constitution was outdated and sponsors were not forthcoming.
Fast forward to today, netball is in a much better situation.
The constitution has long been updated and sponsors are well on board. While things look good, Lebotse, who was re-elected to lead BONA for another four years this past weekend, believes things have not gone as she would have wished for in the last few years of her reign.
“My first two to three years at the helm were the most productive of my term. These last few years, heading into last week’s Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) were not the best of years,” the BONA President reflected during an interview.
She believes that after the initial growth, netball has not grown much since and everything will stagnate if things do not change.
“But it has something to do perhaps with my style of leadership. Initially when I ascended to the BONA leadership seat, I wanted results. Actually, I demanded results. This led to me being labeled as an iron-fisted leader but I got the desired results. During my second term, I tried to relax a bit but then things have not gone as well and have not had better results,” Lebotse said.
Perhaps even more interestingly, the BONA chief believes following a step by step pattern to try and attain results has also deterred possible progress. Now, as she enters what she terms ‘her last term in office,’ Lebotse intends to shake things up and do things a little differently, for the sake of netball’s growth.
“During this tenure, I want netball to be athletes and events driven. Everything should centre on successfully hosting as many events as possible and ensuring our athletes are active,” the BONA President said.
Quizzed on whether this new approach will give the desired results, Lebotse was positive.
“You cannot host successful events if your athletes are not properly developed. You need quality athletes to host a successful event. You cannot host successful events if your management, your coaches and your umpires are not of the highest standards. Above all, you cannot host successful events if you do not have sponsors. If we organize successful events, we will be forced to get all these right,” Lebotse explained. According to the BONA President, after trying a step by step approach, there is now a need for a new approach to try and grind the needed results.
“We have to throw ourselves at the deep end, put ourselves into tough situations that will force us to work hard to get results,” she said.
While optimistic that all these are achievable, Lebotse is not oblivious to the challenges facing sport, more especially in regards to funding.
“We are facing a lot of competition for sponsors from various other sporting codes. As such, we need to be aggressive in our search for sponsors. We have appointed a new marketer to spearhead our hunt for sponsors and I will be working hand in hand with her to ensure we get sponsors,” the BONA chief said.
On what she wants to have achieved when her last tenure at the helm of Botswana netball ends, the BONA President said it will be to leave netball on a good footing. Having always been an advocate for good talent development, Lebotse said during this tenure, she would like to see more young athletes emerge from the sport.
“Our aim will, therefore, be to improve our relations with sporting bodies like Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) and Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and to work with them towards netball development. We will also try encouraging teams to adopt BOPSSA and BISA teams so as to help nurture them,” Lebotse said.