A long layoff and poor preparations are the main reasons behind the Botswana’s senior netball national team’s dismal performances at the just-ended Africa Netball Cup in Namibia, the Public Relations Officer of Botswana Netball Association (BONA), Mokeresete Mokeresete, has said.
The team lost six consecutive games and won only two to finish in the seventh place. They lost against Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda before getting consolation victories over Zimbabwe and Tanzania. “It was not an easy ride to the championships as we had a long layoff, which led to our players lacking physical fitness, match fitness and the mental strength,” Mokeresete said in a telephone interview. “The last time we had our league was 2018, which is three years ago and a long time in sports.
“The time we had the team in camp was not long enough to effectively address all aspects needed for preparing for a competition of this magnitude. We needed to stay longer, which we did not do because we did not have the financial wherewithal necessary for a longer camp.” But what will BONA do to ensure that the senior national netball team delivers better performances in the future? “It is a well-known fact that it is not an easy thing to find the combinations to win games,” Mokeresete answered. “It takes a team to play some more games to find its footing and rhythm to play well.
“We have therefore resolved in principle to find ways and means to keep this team together long enough in both local and international camps and to even organise more match practices to bring it into the right shape before next year’s major international events. Another good development is that our players will now be active as we will be starting our national league beginning next year.”
Meanwhile, Mokeresete informed this publication that BONA will hold a return-back-to-play tournament in December. The aim is to assess the proclivity of the association and the teams, both men and women, for the game in the COVID-19 era. Mokeresete disclosed that the next competition for the senior netball national team will be the Africa World Netball Cup Qualifiers and the Africa Netball Cup next year at dates yet to be confirmed.