Sunday, January 16, 2022

Spar Supers Stars netball tournament in the offing

After years of toiling and continuously failing to attract new talent for its national team structures, the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has introduced a new ‘player centric’ tournament to counter the problem.

The tournament, sponsored by Spar and dubbed the BONA Spar Super Stars, will start this coming month (August).

BONA’s Marketing and Publicity Manager, Kelebogile Maplanka, said the new tournament, which is said to be ‘player driven,’ as opposed to ‘team driven,’ will be played over a five week period only.
Speaking in an interview, the BONA Marketing and Publicity Manager said the move came after BONA realised the league alone was not adequate enough to produce new talent.

“What we realised with the league was that it was not taking all of the talent and some of the most talented players fell off. This has led to league being dominated by the same teams and same faces. As a result, we had only this small pool of players and teams from which to select our teams, resulting with same players being selected into the national team,” Maplanka explained.

She said under this tournament, in which only top talent from across the country will come face to face, the onus will be on players ‘to showcase their talent, with the hope of making it into the national teams.’

“What will happen is that over the course of the tournament, players will be thoroughly checked to see if they can make it into the national teams. Only players who show enough talent and consistency over the duration of the tournament will be scouted to see if they have what it takes to reach the highest potential in the game of netball,” the BONA Marketing and Publicity Manager explained.

Regarding the format of the tournament, Maplanka said only six teams of select players will be involved. She said the teams will be inclusive of players in the BONA structures as well as those not playing under the BONA structures.

The six teams that are expected to participate in the tournament are the current senior national team, the U-20 national team that played in the Africa Youth Games, players U-25 years of age who are not in the national team, players over 25 years of age, also not involved with the national team, tertiary education select team as well as constituency tournament select team.

On how the selection for the teams will be done, Maplanka said BONA already has people involved in the mentioned structures and it is the very same people who will be expected to select the teams.
“Some of the people who we have identified are already either involved in the constituency leagues or the tertiary schools. These are the people who we have chosen to select as well as to manage the teams,” the BONA Marketing and Publicity Manager said.

The tournament, which is expected to be launched very soon is said to have been conceived ‘after an extensive bench marking exercise with Singapore Super League as well as SA Brutal Fruit tournament.’
It is sponsored by My Spar Botswana to a tune of P300 000, with a P270 000 coming as a direct cash injection while the remaining P30 000 comes in kind.

Maplanka said the P270 000 cash injection will be used to cover the officials branding and transport, umpires kits and transport, teams’ kits, subsidised players’ transport, administration and communication as well as tournament launch.

The other P30 000 comes courtesy of Spar providing all meals and snacks for teams and officials, medals and trophies, individual awards as well as branding and berchandise.

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