The Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) Technical team is expected to announce the names of players who will be in the country’s senior men and ladies’ teams tomorrow (Monday).
The teams are expected to represent the country at the Afro Basket Zone 6 tournament, due in Mozambique next month. The games will be used as qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations Basketball, also called Afrobasket 2013.
The teams will be named from provisional teams that have been in camp since last year in December.
Speaking in an interview, BBA’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mimi Mokgwathi, said the provisional team, which is under the watchful eye of the national team coaches, is responding well to training and ‘seems eager for the qualifiers.’
According to Mokgwathi, the team had its initial camp from the 15th to the 22nd of December when they broke off for the festive seasons before resuming their camp again on the 7th of this month.
So far, the teams have played games against select teams this past Saturday to determine who will make it into the national team. The BBA PRO says since the resumption of the camp, players have responded well to training and are looking fit.
“In view of the fact that they will take a break from the camp, the coaches gave players programmes to follow and so far, it seems as if the players did follow the programmes given,” Mokgwathi explained, adding that once the final 12 players for both the men and ladies teams have been selected, the teams will be expected to start intensive training and will play friendly games to gain match fitness.
“We have arranged for the team to play two friendly games in Mafikeng, South Africa, where we expect them to play against both the Mafikeng and Gauteng teams,” she explained.
Going into the Afrobasket Zone 6 qualifiers, Mokgwathi says the team will be going there to compete and to try and qualify for the 2013 Afrobasket tournament. Botswana will have to pass a stern test of character against some of the regional powerhouses if they are to qualify.
Standing between Botswana and qualification are the national teams of South Africa, Mozambique and Angola just to name a few. Despite the odds staked against Botswana, the BBA PRO is optimistic the country can do well in the tournament.
“If you look at the teams here, some of them are playing professional or semi professional leagues in their countries while we are still amateurs. Physically, they have a bigger physical build than us. However, when it comes to skill, we have the same skill and technique as them and we are confident we can compete,” she added.
The men’s national team will be under the guidance of Roberto Richardson as the only coach while the ladies team will be under the tutelage of Barbara De las Mercedes Becquer Rivero assisted by James Kalebwe.