Saturday, December 3, 2022

Netball team appeals for support as preparations pick up momentum

The Botswana netball team has appealed for support from the nations as it enters the final stretch of preparations for the World Championships billed for Singapore in July this year.

The team is currently in camp as it fine tunes itself ahead of the world championships.

Speaking in an interview from the team’s camp in Bathopele Lodge, the team’s head coach, Seipei Gaelesiwe said the team will need all the support it can garner from the nation as it seeks to take on the best in the world. The team has been drawn into a very tough group in the championships which comprises netball giants Jamaica and South Africa as well as hosts Singapore.

The coach is, however, concerned that the team’s preparations have not been as smooth as they expected them to be. “We are still lagging behind in terms of our preparations for the games. Most of our team players are fully employed and it is difficult to get them in camp when we want to. Currently, most of them have not yet reported to camp due to work commitments and this makes it difficult to carry on our preparations as we could have wanted to,” Gaelesiwe said.

She says this also hampers and delays their team selection as they have called 18 players to camp but need only 12 for the championships. With the under 21 team also in camp, the coach says they are also experiencing transport problems as they have to share the transport they were given.

She says as such, they are not able to honour the friendly games they are trying to organise against local male table tennis team as part of their preparations. The coach is however optimistic that everything will normalise soon, adding that they still have more camps, with the next one coming during the long Easter holidays.

Meanwhile, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Tebogo Lebotse, says the association is trying very hard to organise international friendly games for the team. “If things go according to plan, we expect to host a four nations’ tournament here in May to give the team some necessary match practice.

We have invited South Africa, Malawi and Singapore and we are positive something will happen,” Lebotse said in an interview. She says South Africa and Singapore ‘have agreed in principle to take part’ while Malawi is yet to confirm. Apart from the tournament, the BONA president says they are lining up a couple of international friendly games which she hopes will help the team prepare well for the championships.

This will be Botswana’s second participation in the world championships with the country having made its debut back in 2007 in New Zealand where they finished tenth after winning only two of the six games they played. Lebotse says this time around, they are planning to be in the top eight, saying while this is an ambitious target given the pedigree of their opponents, they are optimistic they can make it.

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