BONA Uses Pandemic as a Chance to clean House
• Focuses on governance and admin issues • Has 30 members undergo sports admin courses
Unlike others who see the COVID-19 pandemic era as disastrous, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has taken the opportunity to get its house in order to better attract more sponsors for life after the virus.
In an interview with The Business Weekly Sports, BONA president Malebogo Raditladi said for the netball association, the pandemic was and is still an advantage because it gave them time to reflect on administration and governance issues that affect netball development. “Activities are not sport development,” she asserted.
“Sport development gives birth to activities that we want. If all is well with good governance and administration, sponsors will come on board because we would then have a solid plan for our sponsors, with structures in place to ensure implementation from the ground level up. So the pandemic gave or is giving us time to work on our governance, which will in turn aid us attract sponsors.”
But Raditladi admitted that like other sporting codes, it is difficult for netball to cope in the pandemic era. “It is just that when we found that we’re in trouble, we resorted to restructuring in governance and administration,” she explained. “That helped us to identify and focus on issues that bring the development of netball down. We used the time to educate our members on the issues of COVID-19 and its effect on our sport development and how we will now have to tackle the future.”
She said when the country was hit by the second wave of the pandemic that resulted in suspension of all sporting activities, BONA decided to continue to use the time to empower its members, getting 30 of them to take sports administration courses with BNOC. “We realised that getting frustrated and folding our arms would not help us,” Raditladi noted. “We believe that the courses that our members underwent will contribute to the development our sport.”
Asked about netballers returning to the field of play when COVID-19 finally subsides, the BONA president answered: “The athletes’ welfare is the main worry. If they were at least having camps for fitness, their interest would not wane because holistic development includes physical emotional and psychological development. But since they are not active, they may be prone to injuries when they return because they would not be mentally and physically fit.”
Raditladi noted that there are netball activities lined up for the national teams this year. “They include the Africa Cup and other ranking games,” she said. “The big question we are faced with is how ready we are to compete and how dangerous will the virus be at that time? Are we sure we can take a chance at the cost of athletes welfare just to be seen to be compliant or we will let this year pass and see the outcomes and be fully prepared to start with well settled minds?”