The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng has vowed to do all in his power to ensure the national Under-21 netball team, “Dinaletsana,” is kept intact.
Following the team’s sparkling performances during the recent Gaborone 2017 Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC), Olopeng said it will make him happy to see the team kept together as a long term project.
“We will try to do our best to keep in touch with your management, for it is my hope and wish to keep this team together,” Olopeng said.
He said while he had some ‘heart in the mouth moments’ for them during the tournament wondering how they will overcome each quarter as it came, the girls displayed passion, dedication, focus and mostly confidence to overcome every obstacle.
With the girls having sparkled their way into the hearts of the nation, Olopeng indicated that while he is aware that most of them are in schools pursuing careers and some out of the country, the management will have to do an assessment to see how the team can be held together so that in four years to come they may be the senior team.
“As long as I am the minister, I will do my best to promote sport and see you girls playing internationally,” said Olopeng.
Olopeng stated that the girls displayed a God given talent and the only way to enhance it is through training and discipline.
He indicated that he will be so sad if he hears that one of the Dinaletsana players is pregnant in a few months to come.
Olopeng said Dinaletsana’s performances during the nine-day tournament clearly reflect his ministry’s new tagline, which says, “my life, my future, my responsibility”.
Olopeng’s vow to ensure the team is kept together as a long term development project would have delighted the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) and the team’s technical team, who have always reiterated their wish to keep it together.
Speaking in an interview after her team’s tournament heroics, Dinaletsana Coach Setshege Botlhole-Mmopi said her wish was that the team be kept together and the future national team be built around it.
“I wish we can build our future national team around this team. I wish the BONA leadership could do something about this team and call some of these girls into the senior national team. I know we cannot draft them all into the senior national team because we need experience, but I think in these girls, we have a solid base for the national team,” Botlhole-Mmopi opined.