The Botswana national netball team is in camp in preparation for week-long Africa Netball Games, which are scheduled for Tanzania on the 8th of May. The team will be expected to leave the country on the 6th of May and to return back home after the week-long tournament to prepare for the Confederation of Southern African Netball Associations (COSANA) tournament as well as the Zone 6 championships.
The team, which started its camp this past Saturday, is expected to be composed of a mixture of youth and experience as the country prepares for future major international competitions.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, the President of Botswana Netball Association (BONA), Tebogo Lebotse, said the team will be in the hands of interim coaches, Delroy Nkomazana and Kelebogile Mocuminyane, who ascended the netball hot seat after the departure of the then coach, Seipei Gaelesiwe, late last year.
According to Lebotse, BONA decided to retain the duo of Nkomazana and Mocuminyane for the Africa Games whilst still deciding on who can take the reins of the team on a permanent basis.
“We believe that as a sport, Netball has grown very much in the past few years and we have outgrown a stage where we are coached by amateur coaches. We need at least one or two resource people or professional coaches to help in the national team as well as help in the development of our own local coaches,” Lebotse said.
The BONA president says while at the helm, the coaching duo of Nkomazana and Mocuminyane will be expected to help build a new team to take the country forth as some of the players who took part at last year’s world Netball Championships are not retainable in the long term.
“We are also expecting that for the next national team engagements, the Africa Games included, we will see more youthful players entering the national team setup to play alongside their more experienced seniors. This will be to give them more exposure as they have to prepare for Junior World Netball Championships whilst also preparing them for the next World Championships,” the BONA President said.
According to Lebotse, involving the youngsters in the Africa Games will give them much needed match practice for the Junior World Championships where they will be expected to face powerhouses like Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica. She says whilst this will be a risky move that can compromise the National netball team, considering that the Africa Games are recognized by the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and are used for rankings, it has to be done now rather than in later stages when it will be too late.
Meanwhile, the BONA chief says they will be expecting the Malaysian-based trio of Tebogo Radipotsane, Kagisano Mawela and Ntebogang Motlakaloso to join their compatriots in camp once they arrive in the country. The trio, who have been plying their trade in the Malaysian Netball league, are expected in the country sometime towards the end of this month.
While Mawela (29) is now entering the twilight of her netballing career, the duo of Motlakaloso (21) and Radipotsane (25) are viewed as the foundation for the new national team as age is on their side.