An outbreak of chickenpox in Cape Town, South Africa, has cut short the Botswana Table Tennis senior national team’s dream of ending the year on a high.
Despite having had a brilliant start to the interregional championships, the team will now have to come back with no silverware from their South African sojourn.
The team, which left Cape Town on Friday, arrived back in the country yesterday (Saturday).
According to the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) spokesperson, Tiro Motswasele, at least 95 percent of players who had taken part in the tournament prior to its unceremonious end had qualified for the next round.
The BTTA spokesperson further informed Standard Sport that despite the team not getting any international friendly match practice, the team’s performance was above par.
“The entire team performed extremely well. We even gave teams like South Africa, who had played international games, including the Commonwealth Games, a hard time,” Motswasele added.
He says there has been a marked improvement in the team’s performance and approach to international games. He further added that even the teams they were playing against were amazed by the Botswana team performance, more so that they had not played any international games this year.
The other surprise, according to Motswasele, was the performance of the team’s teenage players who had been incorporated into the team for developmental purposes.
“Fortunately for us, when we got here, we found that there was an under 17 category and these players were eligible to take part in it.
One youngster who performed extremely well was Namibo Mbulawa, and her doubles team with Game Kebidiwang had made it into the semi finals,” Motswasele continued.
The development boys also had performed well and had made it into the last 16 round of the championship. Concerning the senior players, Motswasele says by the time the championships were stopped, all Botswana’s doubles teams, made of Bonolo Mabote and Joseph Kgatlampane (men) as well as Matshidiso Osi and Boitshwarelo Butale (ladies) had made it into the championship’s quarter finals while Mabote and Osi had also made it into the quarterfinals in the mixed doubles category.
The singles categories had not been played by the time the tournament came to its abrupt end. On other issues, Motswasele says having seen the tremendous potential in the team’s developmental players, they are now planning on how best to monitor and help develop the team’s developmental players to ensure that they grow. He further added that they will also be hoping that the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) will increase BTTA funds to help the association to send its players into international games and Africa games in particular to give them a chance at making the Commonwealth Games or any major championships.