The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Tebogo Lebotse, has hailed the first year of the Spar good for you Netball league season as a success.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, Lebotse said considering that it was a first for them to run a million pula sponsored league, they have done fairly well.
“This being the first year is what we can call initial capital investment. We did not know how to run the league and how much would be needed to run it in the first year. We therefore did not have an exact budget save for the prize money budget, which we had set at P120┬á000,” Lebotse told Standard Sport.
The BONA president says she expects the second year to be far much better and to have a budget as they already have a clue on how to effectively run the league.
“We still have to sit down and calculate the costs incurred from the first season. From this, we will have a clue as to how much we will need and will therefore budget accordingly,” she said.
Lebotse added that having acquired most of the things required to run a successful league in the first year, they expect the costs of running the league from now on to be lower than in the first year, something which she believes may lead to an increment in the prize money in the following editions of the league.
She says while the playing field has not evened out, a lot of improvement has been noted in the just ended league.
“For the first time in ten years, we have seen a different team making the finals, something which was different from the usual BDF Cats versus Tasc finals encounter that we got used to,” Lebotse further said. According to the BONA president, there is, however, a lot that still needs to be done to make the league more competitive.
“One of the biggest challenges we face at the moment is the glaring difference between the league’s top teams and the lower teams. Some of the teams are not very competitive and, as such, some of the games do not reflect the stature of the league,” she said, adding that, as such, it would be good to have a lower league and a top league where teams can compete according to their strengths, to reduce situations where teams may be discouraged due to the heavy losses they incur at the hands of top teams.
Lebotse says having top netball league teams that are not competitive in their entirety is not good for national teams as it draws players from the league. She says she expects that the committees in charge of the two netball league zones (North and South), will hold their own ‘post mortem’ of the immediate past season, findings of which will be discussed at the next Administrative workshop billed for early next year.
She says recommendations from this workshop will then be passed on to the BONA annual general meeting where they will be discussed and adopted.
Meanwhile, the BONA president says they are now concentrating on the national Under 19 national team to see to it that it performs well at the SCSA Zone 6 Under 20 tournament billed for Swaziland next weekend. Lebotse says as a feeder team to the current and future national teams, the junior side has to make a better showing at the tournament and finish in the medals category.
On other related issues, the local netball president says they have organised a series of netball camps for the senior national team in preparation for next year’s world championships. The camps are expected to run until July next year. Lebotse says to ensure the team gets enough training; they also intend to add at least two international camps for the team. The senior national team’s success was one of the highlights of the year after they booked themselves a place at next year’s world netball championships.