Three of Botswana’s senior national netball team players will leave for Singapore later this month to compete in the Netball Singapore Super League.
The three players, two goal defenders, goalkeepers and a goal shooter are expected to be based in Singapore from the 20th of this month to the 29th of April.
The three players are: 29-year-old Kagisano Mawela, Ntebogang Motlakaloso (20) and 25-year-old goal shooter Tebogo Radipotsane.
Speaking in an interview, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President, Tebogo Lebotse, said the association is very excited at the prospect of having its players make entry in the professional ranks.
“This is a major milestone for Botswana netball. It is the first time ever that this country will have players plying their skill in professional league. For us, the fact that the contracts they have are very short is of no consequence. What we hope for is that this may open the doors for many other local players to make it into the professional ranks,” the BONA President said. Lebotse says with the Netball Singapore Super League entering its last round and expected to end in two months, the three players have only been given two months contracts.
Lebotse says what is even more exciting is that two of the three players, Radipotsane and Motlakaloso are still young and the experience of playing in the league will bode well for the national team in the future.
“If we make the next world cup, Motlakaloso will only be 24 years while Radipotsane will be 29 years. They still have a lot to offer to the national team,” the BONA president added.
Lebotse said the progress of the two young players is a testimony to the fact that exposure to international competitions at an early age can bear fruit for netball.
Both Motlakaloso and Radipotsane made the national team in their late teens after impressing in junior national teams. Radipotsane made it into the senior national team seven years ago while still an 18 year old while Motlakaloso was the youngest player in the Botswana senior team that competed at World Championships last year.
Ever since being called to the team three years ago at the age of 17, Motlakaloso’s star has been on the rise with the player being one of the stars of the Botswana team during the World championships.
“Take nothing away from Mawela, she is a tremendous player. She already has 46 caps for the national team and it is a pity she is scouted at the later stage of her career. But all credit due to her, to be scouted at her age is a major milestone,” Lebotse said when commenting about the 29 year old Goal Defender.
“What all this goes to show is that giving our youngsters international exposure at an early age is the way to go, and that is what we have been advocating for. We are still lagging behind in this aspect and my hope is that whoever ascends the national team coaching seat will give space for some youngsters to learn,” Lebotse said.
Meanwhile, Lebotse says BONA will host a ‘farewell and good-luck cocktail’ for the three players on the 14th of this month at Cresta President Hotel while the players are expected to leave the country for Singapore on the 20th.