It is the same old story for the northern netball clubs plying their trade with Botswana Netball Association (BONA) league currently in its last phase of a mouthwatering sponsorship deal with South African retail giant, Spar.
Codenamed "Spar Good for You League," the sponsorship ran for the past three seasons at a tune of a whopping P1.2 million – a first of its kind in the history of the game of netball in the country. The sponsorship deal was expected to improve the standard of netball in the country especially in the north.
This is so because the standard in the BONA Southern Zone League is a bit higher than that of their northern counterparts. Affiliates of the Southern Zone league have continued to dominate teams affiliated to the Northern Zone league in most netball competitions. And this year’s Spar Good for You league exposed the dominance of the teams from the southern part of the country.
Only one team from the BONA Northern ZonelLeague managed to book a berth at the Spar Good for You. And this is none other than Tasc Confidence. Tasc went all the way to the finals but failed to win the title. BDF Cats proved way too powerful for the gold and black outfit. Cats walloped the Francistown based side 50-35. Teams from the north have continued to play second fiddle against their southern counterparts.
In exploring why northern zone plays second fiddle to its southern precinct, BONA Northern Zone league chairperson Kene Tjikwakwa admitted that there are problems in certain clubs in her zone but could not be drawn into discussing them. However, investigations by BG Sports have established that most of the teams from the north do not take the game seriously.
Although the clubs from the north argued that southern teams have good training facilities compared to amenities in the northern part of the country, a senior member of the BONA Northern Zone league dismissed the insinuations. “Teams affiliated to the northern zone especially those from the central part of the country are too petty.
Instead of channeling their energies towards training hard and improving the standard of the game, they are busy gossiping how some members of the zone are biased towards certain teams,” said one member of the Northern Zone league committee who requested anonymity. BG Sports is reliably informed that most teams in the north only assemble during league periods and competitions only.
It is said teams do not fully prepare for games hence their failure to match their well-polished opponents from the south. “Until such a time the teams become serious, it will be always difficult for the northern zone to turn the tables,” she said.
Teams from the north she observed, have genuine quality but are always on the back pedal because they do not take training seriously– a key element for any club that needs to be counted among the best in any code.