The Botswana Netball National team has qualified to participate at the world championships billed for Singapore in July next year.
Team Botswana came second to South Africa at the just ended African Qualifying championships.
The team arrived back in the country on Friday after their week long sojourn in South Africa.
Speaking to Standard Sport in an interview, the team’s coach, Seipei Gaelesiwe, says the focus now shifts to the World championships, which are only nine months away.
The coach says the championships have shown her the team’s weaknesses, which she hopes to work on ahead of the championships. Gaelesiwe says two of the areas she needs to work on are the physical and psychological aspects of the players.
She says coming against physical sides, the local ladies were easily pushed around and cited the only game they lost against South Africa as a case in point.
She says after holding South Africa for three quarters of the game, the local lasses lost it on the fourth quarter when their opponents got physical. Gaelesiwe says the local girls were not mentally prepared for the game hence there is a need to work on their mental aspect of the game.
The coach was, however, happy with the overall team performance saying the girls showed they have great skills and tactical awareness.
On other issues, Gaelesiwe says her intention is to give her players individual training programmes to follow as they prepare for world championships.
She says since most of the players work in different places across the country, they will not have enough time to get together and thus need to have a strict regimen to keep fit.
Gaelesiwe says going to the championships, their ambition is to be in the top eight or better and to improve their world rankings.
For her part, the team captain, Portia Rasekhumba, said the local girls’ tactical acumen helped them get through the qualifiers. She says against physical sides, they had to rely more on skill and tactical awareness as they could not match their opponents physically.
Rasekhumba says the games they played against local male netball teams helped them a lot as they learnt how to play against physical sides. The ladies captain, who was also voted the best attacking player and the fourth most accurate shooter of the tournament, concurred with the coach that they now need to have strict individual training schedules if they are to maintain their fitness ahead of the world championships.
Rasekhumba says the onus is now on the players to be responsible and to keep fit when they are not with the national team.
Earlier briefing the media, the team’s head of delegation at the qualifiers, Gracious Seru, said they now need more help from all stakeholders and the public as they prepare for the world championships. She says they will need more resources to get as many international friendly games as possible and urged others to come on board to help the team’s main sponsors, the Motor Centre Group.