The absence of the national leagues at the both Botswana Netball Association (BONA) and Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) has taken its toll on local players. Reports reaching BG Sport are that national team players from both Federations are competing at lower structures because of the defunct league.
In 2016, BONA’s loyal sponsors My Spar Supermarket returned to the netball scenes after a four-year league drought with a whooping P400 000 sponsorship. It was then that the netball family thought things were finally looking up and the successful hosting of the Netball World Youth Cup last year, pretty much sealed their high expectations. However, to this day, BONA is still struggling to run a successful league that will keep players on the court and not on the streets.
As the situation becomes more uncertain by the day, some of the local coaches have told BG Sport that athletes are bored and not even turning up for trainings because they see no reason to put in the work, in the absence of the league action.
“The situation is very bad, it is proving hard to motivate our players because we do not have answers either,” said BDF Cats Coach Neo Ntwaagae.
Nevertheless, Ntwaagae said they are expecting the league to restart next month, however all the logistics will be communicated by the BONA leadership. Another blow facing BONA is unconfirmed reports that suggest that the promising under 21netball team that performed wonders during the World Cup is said to be idling and the players are now competing in constituency leagues for the meantime.
The NYWC squad (names withheld) were a force to reckon with during the World Cup and upon realization that their talent is going to waste and they resorted to seeking game time in lower structures. Moreover, senior national team senior players have also been mentioned in the list.
“Such reports have been making rounds but we can never be sure because I have not seen any evidence so far. To a certain extent, I understand what they are going through,” Ntwaagae said.
Reached for comment, BONA mouthpiece Theresa Hitcherfield said she was busy and should be contacted at a later time.
Still on that, Kalavango Volleyball Club Coach Isaac Thengelani denied reports that some of his players terminated contracts so that they can play the game at lower structures. “Those are news to me, my team is training and it is business as usual, there has not been any correspondence from the Federation but we remain hopeful,” he said.
Kutlwano volleyball team coach Isaac Samuel said they are feeling the heat too. However, it is fortunate that none of their players has shown interest in leaving his team any time soon. Samuel said there are chances that players would resort to playing at the constituency level over the fact of quitting the game altogether. He explained that it is very difficult to train players who know there is no competition ahead. “We are finding means of keeping them motivated, we made an arrangement with the University of Botswana and we play against each other on a weekly basis,” Samuel noted.
BVF Public Relations Officer, Kagiso Meswele said it would be a pity if they are to lose some of the league players to constituency. He explained that as of now they have nothing on the table as far as the league is concerned, however they are still hoping that they will conclude talks with potential sponsors.
Meswele further explained that as BVF, they do not expect any national league player to be play at constituency level however the decision lies with the contracts between clubs and players.