Botswana finished fourth but BONA president is being philosophical about the lacklustre showing, saying it should be viewed comprehensively with the raft of issues that preceded the continental tournament and their effect on the team
After considerable trepidation owing to time and financial constraints at first, Botswana successfully hosted the Africa Netball Cup in Gaborone from 28 November to 6 December.
Proving its capacity to work under pressure, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) rallied support from key sponsors and turned a potential setback into a triumph.
The president of the organisation, Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile, is full of praise for Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) for extending crucial financial backing at a critical time for BONA.
“Their assistance was instrumental in overcoming the financial challenges that threatened the event’s feasibility,” she said in a telephone interview with Gazette Sports.
Venue and playing surface
She explained that one of the major obstacles had been securing a suitable venue and a playing surface. “Netball South Africa’s donation of the playing floor, coupled with support from Naledi Mining Services, ensured that the games could proceed,” she said.
Raditladi-Nkgakile said ensuring seamless communication for participating teams was another challenge. “Abaricom’s sponsorship of WiFi services played a vital role in enabling teams to stay connected with their families and support systems during the competition,” she noted.
Despite finishing fourth in the tournament, Raditladi-Nkgakile emphasised that the team’s performance must be viewed holistically.
Emphasising the importance of comprehensive preparations beyond fitness alone, she commended the efforts of sponsors like Debswana, ODC, and Yarona Country Lodge, who supported the team with accommodation, meals and transport.
Zambia won the Africa Netball Cup on the women’s side after defeating Namibia 57-55. On the men’s side, South Africa are the champions after defeating Zimbabwe with a 45-40 scoreline.
Looking forward, BONA is investing in development of junior players through initiatives like the School Holiday Camp, which is currently taking place in Jwaneng. Fully sponsored by Debswana Jwaneng Mine, the camp includes participants across various age categories.
Long-Term Athlete Development
“This is part of our start with the age-based development competition programme that will help us to identify talent to be ready for competitions,” Raditladi-Nkgakile said. “This camps also aligns with BONA’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) pathway.”
Her optimism about Botswana’s netball future is reflected in her commitment to building a strong foundation through age-based development programmes.
Significantly, BONA’s successful hosting of the Africa Netball Cup, despite the challenges, marks a significant milestone for Botswana’s netball community and sets the stage for continued growth and success.