Friday, April 19, 2024

Tri Nations tournament highlight Botswana’s shortfalls

The Botswana National netball team coach, Seipei Gaelesiwe, says the recently held Tri Nations tournament has shed light on how much the team has progressed ahead of the World Netball Championships (WNC).

Speaking in an interview, Gaelesiwe said the games helped highlight major flaws to work on ahead of the championships as well as possible combinations to be used at the championships.

After seeing her charges easily snuff out the challenge from Singapore in the first game, the senior national team netball coach witnessed as her team was torn apart by South Africa in their second game of the day.

Against South Africa, the local ladies struggled to match the pace and strength of their opponents, losing the match 55 ÔÇô 34. The South African SPAR Proteas then easily saw off Singapore on Sunday to ensure they face off with Botswana in the finals.

In the final game against South Africa, the Botswana national team had a torrid first two quarters as South Africa exposed their (Botswana’s) lack of fitness with flawless and pacey display. Despite being the first off the blocks, the local ladies soon found themselves coming second best as the South Africans attacked them relentlessly. The South Africans raced to a 14 ÔÇô 7 lead at the end of the first quarter, with their trio of Zanele Mdodana in wing attack, Goal Shooter Claudia Basson and Centre player Erin Burger doing the most damage.

The unheralded Mdodana was a constant threat to the Botswana side as she was involved in every movement with the ball while Basson was ruthless upfront. It was the same story in the second quarter as the local girls were the first to draw blood but soon deflated under pressure from their South African opponents.

South Africa netted a massive 17 points to Botswana’s 10 to ensure the second quarter ended with South Africa 31 – 17 ahead. Botswana, however, had a much better display in the third and fourth quarter as they took the battle to their opponents, losing both quarters by close margins. With Mdodana off for the third quarter, the local ladies clawed their way back into the game and showed intent to wrestle the game from their South African opponents. The attacking combination of Violet Moabi and team captain, Portia Rasekhumba, upfront for Botswana proved a potential match winner for Botswana as the duo, ably assisted by Kelebogile Mangole in Centre Court, managed to help take the war to South Africa. The local ladies, however, lost the quarter 13 ÔÇô 12 to give SA an overall lead of 44 ÔÇô 29.

The South African SPAR Proteas, however, sealed their dominance over Botswana with another closely fought 12 ÔÇô 7 win in the fourth and final quarter to give their team a 56 ÔÇô 36 win over Botswana.

“The games showed our lack of physical and mental fitness and these are areas we will be working on during our final camp,” Gaelesiwe said when commenting on her team’s performance.

She says as such, they will try to engage physical fitness experts and sports psychologists to help the local ladies in their final preparations. The coach also pointed out that after trying out combinations during the games, she ‘now has an idea of how the team may look like during the world championships.’


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