Newly-re-elected president of Botswana Netball Association (BONA), Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile, intends to turn netball into a lucrative sport that will prioritise players’ development and welfare.
She strongly believes there is a need to cater for athletes’ welfare beyond their careers. “That is why we have to work hard in ensuring that we assess their skills, personalities, interests, values, performances, livelihoods and psychology,” she said in an interview. “These are things that we take for granted but are very important.”
To that end, Raditladi-Nkgakile said BONA has appointed a medical team for athletes. “It is supported by Always on Medical Centre with their medical team,” she explained. “We also have the support of the UB Counselling Centre that has offered us one of its staff members. The improvement we want to see is to have medical cover for players’ injuries and or emergencies. We are still exploring ways of doing that through sponsors.”
In addition to players’ welfare, Raditladi-Nkgakile said BONA will regularly run club administration courses for all BONA affiliates. “Teams are the foundation of development,” she noted. “If they are not empowered, they will not be able to manage their teams, produce quality players and also run their teams professionally.
“Because professionalism is very critical, to achieve it we will have to ensure that BONA structures are functional. Without operational structures, BONA will continue to struggle as the lines of communication and responsibility will never be understood.”
The current BONA Executive Committee believes that when all its administration and governance structures are in place, sponsors will more easily align with the association for a good return on their investment. Raditladi-Nkgakile said there is also a need to continue to host international friendly games as a part of building international relations, as well as to have BONA’s own ranking games.
The BONA president emphasised that it is important to ensure that sustainable national netball activities are back.