- Make quick work of Fiji and Singapore in first two games
- Due to meet Malaysia and Ireland on Saturday
- Coach Van Dyk is eager to go to Christmas with silverware
Botswana Netball Association’s (BONA) senior national team got off to a good start in its quest to finish on the podium at the ongoing Singapore Invitational Nations Cup at OCBC sports arena in Kallang, putting the hosts Singapore and Fiji aside to raise their chances of reaching the finals.
The cup pits five nations from across the world against one another, namely Botswana, Fiji, Singapore, Ireland and Malaysia, for the Asian cup supremacy from 4 to 10 December 2022.
Fit for purpose
Team Botswana is made up of 12 fit-for-purpose women under the tutelage of Neo Ntwaagae and South African gaffer Jenny Van Dyk.
Ranked number 31 in the world, the Stripes registered a convincing 60-43 victory against the world’s number 15, Fiji, thanks to Hildah Binang and Boikanyo Selogetso’s great attacking combination that made life difficult for Fijian defenders.
They continued their winning streak in a brilliant performance against the hosts, Singapore, in the OCBC arena Monday afternoon, winning 50-31 after their total dominance in all quarters.
Botswana took the first quarter 21-7 and extended the lead, claiming the first half 35-20.
In an exclusive interview with Gazette Sports recently, Coach Van Dyk said she was mightily pleased with the progress that the team has made since the World Cup qualifiers.
“They understand my style”
“I am very happy with the progress of the team so far,” she said. “They are playing really good and it is now easier to guide them because they understand my style of play.
“This tournament is of a high standard and we are getting the much-needed exposure as we are the only team from Africa. While other teams are preparing for the World Cup, we are here sharpening our skills and are indeed learning from the best right here in Asia.
“I will do everything I can to make sure that I turn this youthful squad into a competitive side in accordance with what I promised BONA when they acquired my services.”
She used the opportunity of the interview to appeal to stakeholders to support the team with everything it needs in order for The Stripes to maintain their consistency.
“It is important to give this team all the attention in terms of resources because it is the future of Botswana netball,” Van Dyk said. “The team should not be assembled only when there are tournaments because it should not be exclusively tournament-oriented.
“This team could have been kept together after the 2020 World Cup but it is as though we are starting from scratch now and it delays progress. We are now focusing on this competition and all we want is to finish on the podium so we can break for Christmas with some silverware.”
Team Botswana will face Malaysia and Ireland in the last games before the final that is slated for this weekend on Saturday.
THE FULL SQUAD SHOOTERS:
Jenny Van Dyk