With just 180 days to go before Botswana hosts the Netball World Youth Cup, preparations are now going full steam to get the local team in shape.
According to the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego, a provisional team of 23 players has already been selected.
Of the 23 players, three are based in Australia, where they are studying, while the 20 are locally based.
The provisional team, which will be whittled down to 12 players when the tournament starts, is said to have been selected by the technical team in conjunction with BONA’s International Advisor.
The selection is said to have taken place at the end of a very long training camp which came to an end this past week.
“We are hopeful that this selection will now give our technical team a good number of players to work with and focus on as we head for our final training camps before the games begin,” Lebotse-Sebego explained.
She added that her association was now planning for the team to have a five- month training camp, which, finances allowing, should end with an intensive two-week one overseas.
“Our intention is that between now and July, almost all of our provisional team should be in camp continuously. The only thing that we think will limit our preparations is the availability of players as well as their welfare,” the BONA president explained.
“Some of our players are still students and are back at school, which means we will only have them with us on camp when they are free. As for others, they are either out of school and need us to take care of their welfare or are working. This poses a challenge for us to work around the clock to source funds for us to adequately take care of their welfare,” she continued.
Lebotse-Sebego said unlike some elite sporting codes, their players are not guaranteed monthly allowances that are enough to cater for their needs, hence the need to source funds for them.
“If we do not work around the clock to source funds, these players’ welfare may be compromised and we may lose one of them, which for us can be catastrophic,” she said.
She, however, said she was hopeful that they would be able to get some sponsors for the team, adding that very soon they would unveil sponsors.
Meanwhile, the BONA president has expressed gratitude at some organisations which she said played a critical role in helping team Botswana to prepare.
“We are lucky that some people have found it fit to help us. Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has availed to us at least two physical trainers to work with the girls and we appreciate their effort very much,” she said.
BONA also extended gratitude to the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), who she said had facilitated the hiring of the team’s current International Advisor.