The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) is working around the clock to ensure that the netball league resumes sometime this year. This was revealed by the BONA President Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego. Speaking in an interview, Lebotse-Sebego said it is the BONA executive committee’s wish that the league would have started by the end of this month. “We are still deep in negotiations with potential sponsors and we are hopeful that we will make a breakthrough. If it was according to us, we would want to have the league up and running by the end of this month. If we fail, we would at least be happy to have the league before the end of this year,” Lebotse-Sebego explained.
Should the league start this year, it will be an answer to the country’s netball teams who have been starved off any league competition since 2013. The BONA Netball league suffered a major setback when the then sponsors, My Spar Botswana decided to quit sponsoring the league in favour of the player centric and shorter BONA Spar Superstars tournament. The decision proved to be catastrophic for Botswana netball as the league went into a one year hiatus and clubs were left inactive in the absence of team oriented league. As a result, many of the club hemorrhaged players to the constituency leagues while others were left inactive.
According to Lebotse-Sebego, as a result of the inactivity, BONA will be putting in a mighty shift to resuscitate clubs to ensure they are ready to compete in the league. She said as a result, no major changes will be expected when the league resumes and the league will be played the same way as it was played before it stopped more than a year ago. She, however, said once the clubs are up and running as they should, the BONA executive will start coming up with a few changes to ensure it is competitive. Meanwhile, Lebotse-Sebego said her executive committee is now in conversation with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) with regards to involvement in the constituency league.
With BONA not capacitated enough to have netball teams across the country, the BONA President says their intention is to see how they can work with the constituency league to ensure the game is played well there too. “Given their reach as well as the fact that some of our players compete in the constituency league, we want to get involved, at least technically. Our intention is to at least have our people involved during the later stages of the tournament towards the finals so that the game can be played accordingly and we can benefit from it,” Lebotse-Sebego said.
She said their plan is not to sideline some of the players who compete in the constituency league or are in places which have no BONA affiliation, more especially given that the constituency league provides a lot of netballers with an outlet to keep active.