Botswana’s junior national netball team’s preparations for the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup were put in proper perspective over the past two days as the team won one and lost another game during the ongoing Africa Netball 2017 Youth World cup qualifiers hosted here in Gaborone.
While Botswana’s preparations to host the 2017 Netball Youth World cup seem to be on track, the same cannot be said of the local team.
Though Botswana has already qualified for next year’s event by virtue of being hosts, the local girls are taking part in the qualifiers as part of their preparations as well as to test the country’s readiness to host.
Botswana opened their participation in the ongoing qualifiers against Lesotho with an easy victory in what was a one sided affair. Botswana coach Kagisano Mawela had it was easy in the first game on the bench watching her girls thump the hapless Lesotho. At the end of the last quarter Botswana was at 66 against only 10 scored by their opponents from mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
The real challenge however started on the second game as the local ladies took on neighbouring Zambia. In a first quarter that was characterised by wayward passing and shooting mistakes from both sides, it was Botswana who started better, edging off Zambia by a 13 ÔÇô 12 score line. It was however a different ball game for Botswana in the second quarter as Zambia ran riot over the hosts. Botswana could only manage to score a mere four points to take their tally to 17 while Zambia managed to double the scores to finish the quarter with 24 points, seven points clear from the home girls.
From then on, it was more of the same for Botswana as Zambia ran them to the ground, winning both the third and fourth quarters.
Taking advantage of their physic and height, the Zambians outplayed the local girls as they took the game far away from Botswana’s reach. In the end, Zambia deservedly emerged winners with a 42 – 35 score line.
Botswana’s coach Mawela said her girls did not play well as they allowed Zambia to dictate their game plan.
“We played the way they wanted us to play. We were supposed to play short passes to frustrate them because they are too physical and strong on high balls and long passes. That is why we failed to close them because they are physical, had we possessed the ball it was going to be difficult for them to beat us,” she observed.
Though her team lost, Botswana captain Katlego Dipatelelo, applauded her teammates for fighting till the end.
“The team gave it all their best in the game. I am not totally disappointed because the girls were trying and we played according to coach’s instructions,” Dipatelelo said in a post match interview.
Zambian captain Ethel Pamba said the game was tough but was better than the one we played in the morning.
“Botswana is a good team and it was not easy we had to sweat hard to win” Pamba.
In the other games played earlier on Monday, Zimbabwe thrashed Zambia 46 ÔÇô 24, Uganda beat Namibia 47 ÔÇô 26 while Lesotho suffered their third consecutive loss of the tournament, losing 4ÔÇô89 to a marauding South Africa.