Botswana and Uganda came head to head on Monday afternoon during the ongoing Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) at University of Botswana Indoor Sports Centre, their third match of the tournament.
With tickets to all Botswana games sold out it is evident that the nation has been coming out in large numbers to rally behind their national team which until Monday maintained a decent win.
On Saturday and Sunday Botswana played against Malaysia and Cook Islands respectively and walloped both teams. However, contrary to the expectations of their supportive fans Botswana lost the match against Uganda who beat them by a decent four points. The Ugandan team took the win at 46 points against Botswana’s 42 points.
Botswana’s Centre court player Amantle Never said during an interview with Sunday Standard Sports that indeed the competition is starting to get tough.
“We overcame our nerves quick enough during our first game against Malaysia on Saturday. On Sunday although Cook Islands was a tough team we managed to maintain the lead. Uganda was, however, too tough, it was the toughest so far,” said Never.
She said the loss is unfortunate but on the positive side they would go back to the drawing board as a team and correct their mistakes as they ready themselves to take on the next team.
For her part Botswana’s wing defence player Barati Phesodi said although it should be acknowledged that the Ugandan team was on fire, her team’s efforts should not go unnoticed as they did give their opponents a run for their money.
“I must admit that Uganda is a force to be reckoned with; we fought with all that we have but they still came out on top. One lesson to draw from the loss is that we need to go back and sharpen our teeth. Our fans should by no means lose heart as their support motivates us during these tough times,” said Phesodi.
She said it is also unfortunate that her team lost a lot of balls during the game which only gave the opposing side more opportunity. “We kept very much to the back of the court instead of breaking into their zone that is how they managed to keep advancing to the goal post with ease,” she said.
Botswana coach Setshedi Botlhole-Mmopi while voicing her thoughts said in her view the Ugandan team was not as fierce but rather it was her team that failed to deliver.
“The girls failed to take advantage of the space available to them and that is what gave Uganda a walk in the park. They literally gave the match away on a silver platter,” she lamented. She said Uganda took advantage of every little mistake that Botswana made.
“My team gave so many balls away and failed to put up a good enough defence,” she continued. She said another thing that she picked during the match was that the girls seemed intimidated by their opponents despite her efforts to try and coach them out of it during the match.
Meanwhile, Ugandan coach Nelson Bogera said team Botswana has grown a lot since the Africa Youth Games where he last watched them play. “Botswana is indeed a team to watch as they have displayed a really good game. It has not been an easy ride for us, I had to keep telling my team not to relax at any point of the game because I saw that Botswana was capable of making a comeback,” said Bogera.
He said each game has a lesson to teach players and from their game with Botswana he hopes that his girls watch out for team Botswana in future.