The Gaborone 2017 Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) comes to an end today after nine days of enthralling encounters.
In what was an all action display, Batswana were kept on the edge of their seats as their national junior team, Dinaletsana, took them on a rollercoaster ride.
Despite Dinaletsana not making it into the Top 8 finish, after being knocked out courtesy of a goal ratio rule following a three-way tie between the top 3 in pool C, locals were given a glimpse into the future of Botswana netball.
Sunday Standard reporters run the rule over the team.
The whole team was a marvel to watch and they worked as a team. Even though the Top 8 was just a dream for the girls, they all played with passion and united Batswana. As their name Dinaletsana suggests, every time they took to the court, the girls sparkled like the stars they are.
While all impressed, I believe that 16-year-old, Amantle Never who plays Wing Attack (WA) and Center (C), proved that age is just a number and that determination brings excellence and positive results.
The likes of Boitshoko Pearl Maribe and Cheludo Davids, who play Goal Attack (GA) and Goal Shooter (GS) respectively also impressed.
However, as I have already said, the whole team impressed and every pass, every interception and every goal brought joy. #rebatsere
As an avid supporter of Dinaletsana I must admit that the whole team has made me proud although we missed the Top 8. It’s hard to pick a single player as a favourite but if I was to do so my girl would be Amantle Never. She is indeed a player of note. I feel like she has throughout the World Cup delivered a good game. She is a strong team player and a passionate sportswoman. I wish her a long and fulfilling career as an athlete.
Hosting of the Netball Youth World Cup has revealed talent on the national Under-21 Botswana team. It has attracted patriotism from the local supporters for its good performance.
Goals shooter, Cheludo Davids was the key player and she netted crucial points with her accuracy on goal posts. The displayed and the moves on the field of play by the girls showed that they had been training together for some time and they covered one another well to avoid defeats.
As the Minister of Youth Empowerment and Sport Development, Thapelo Olopeng’s Facebook posts have shown, Batswana were impressed by the team as a collective. “Batswana have been touched by Dinaletsana’s performance at the Netball Youth World Cup. They have been calling asking how and where they could deposit their token of appreciation. Some have already contributed the following: sheep, 20 litre containers of ground nuts and beans from basadibagolo ko gae. I’m humbled,” wrote Olopeng.
For me, the whole team was impressive. As team coach Setshedi Botlhole-Mmopi and the team captain Sarona Hans have always reiterated, the girls always fought for each other and supported each other throughout the tournament.
But if I had to choose individually, top of my list is Amantle Never. The petite 16-year old is a marvel to watch. A very dynamic and energetic presence in the court, Never is fleet footed and her movement in the court coupled with her penchant for short and snappy passes makes her every opponent’s nightmare. Coming on as a substitute most of the time, whenever called upon, Never injected energy and movement into the whole team.
Upfront, the trio of Pearl Maribe, Cheludo Davids and Chenesani Mbangiwa did the job for Botswana.
In the absence of expected regular defensive pairing of Madonna Malikongwa and Letang Mogotlhwane, as well as Kgomotso Matibini, due to injuries and ill health, coach Botlhole-Mmopi had to call on Fatimah Dino, Katlego Dipatelelo and Maipelo Mosotho. While they all shone, it was Dino who impressed the most. She was ever present at the back and her ability to intercept passes was crucial in Dinaletsana’s impressive run during the tournament.
All said and done, this was a team effort and every player impressed.