The recent awarding of scholarships to Botswana netballers is expected to produce positive role models for aspiring netballers. This was said by Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego in an interview after three youthful netballers were awarded the Zebras Elite Scholarship to further their education in Australia.
“Our aim as BONA is to create positive role models for aspiring netballers in the country. At the moment, there is a perception that sport, in particular netball, is played by people who are not academically gifted. We want to send a message to all the young women out there that they can still play netball and excel academically,” said an excited Lebotse-Sebego.
The three recipients of the Zebras Elite Scholarship are Sarona Hans, Winnie Hill and Onalenna Theetso. Hans left for Australia last week to study aviation at Griffith University in Perth, while Hill will pursue a Sports Science course; and Theetso will study Medical Laboratory. Lebotse-Sebego expressed hopes that the awarding of scholarships will inspire upcoming netballers to work hard in their academics knowing that playing sport can open doors for them.
“We want young women to know that if they excel academically and work hard at sport, doors will be opened for them. As BONA, we believe that by encouraging these young women to study hard and play netball we will be able to produce well rounded players who will grow to become well rounded leaders,” she said.
BONA has so far been awarded six elite scholarships for netball players. The first batch of three players received the Zebras Elite Scholarship last year to pursue their tertiary education locally. The three; Letang Mogotlhwane, Madonna Malikongwa and Kagiso Mothuba were all given scholarships to study locally.
“This year, we again got three scholarships for Hans, Hill and Theetso to study in Australia. This was yet another lucky break for us,” said Lebotse-Sebego.
The BONA President said as BONA they were excited by the prospect of having three players studying in a big netball country like Australia, where they will have a chance to play university netball.
“Australia has a very strong university league that will help our players to grow as professional netballers. Over the past few years we have been giving our youthful players a taste of professional netball by taking them overseas. This is yet another opportunity for them to be exposed to netball at a higher level,” explained Lebotse-Sebego.
She further expressed confidence that the three players will earn first team places in their various university teams, saying they are very talented. The three are also expected to join the Botswana team when it competes in the World Youth Netball Cup in Gaborone next year.
“We will be monitoring their progress. We have engaged Netball Australia to help incorporate our players in their structures and we will monitor them closely. We have also engaged the Botswana community in Australia to support them where possible,” said Lebotse-Sebego.