The local netball league is currently languishing in limbo just months after Botswana hosted the successful 2017 Netball Youth World Cup in Gaborone.
As things stand, there is no netball league action and there seems to be no definite answer as to when it will resume. It was just over a year ago when the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) ran a successful league with assistance from loyal sponsors in My Spar supermarket chain. Prior to this, there was a four-year drought when the netball league was not active.
Supermarket retailers Spar were the last national league title sponsors. However it is not yet clear where the relationship between Spar and BONA is heading.
However, what perhaps raises eyebrows and causes mixed emotions within the netball family is that BONA is reported to have a healthy P500 000 bank balance. The amount was announced a few weeks back during the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Palapye.
However this week , sources close to the matter said the BONA leadership maintains that the association’s coffers remain in a bad state despite the six-figure bank account that was announced at their recent AGM.
After successfully hosting the NYWC this year and a splendid performance from the local team Dinaletsana, BONA promised Batswana that the under 21 team will be nurtured and assisted to grow. However, some of the team is reported to be idling in the streets.
According to BG Sport sources, the Dinaletsana team members are now wasting their talent, as they lay idle. “Some of these athletes did not do well at school and they are roaming the streets. Some of the lucky ones are now in military training because they need to find means to survive,” the source said.
The source who prefers anonymity accused BONA of not giving the situation the urgency it requires and that the negligence weighs heavily on the national team. “They are killing netball altogether, some of us are left out when it comes to decision making and this has caused a rift within the association.”
Moreover, some team coaches expressed concern over close ties with South African netball authorities. “Such relationships are now affected by the lack of action,” the source said. Reached for comment on the matter, BONA spokesperson Theresa Hirschfeld said she could not comment on the issue. “I will only be in a better position to talk after the Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego led Committee hands over everything to us on the 11th November.”
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) will this weekend host its elective Annual General Assembly at the Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye.
Fresh information coming out of BONA is that incumbent president Tebogo Lebotse Sebego is not contesting for the election after being at the helm for over a decade. The local netball league has been inactive for the past few years, which is a concern to BONA affiliates. Moreover, BG Sport has it in good authority that the constituency league attracted a sizeable number of players from the mainstream netball structures.
Netball is not the first sport code to be affected by the government initiative as athletes leave mainstream clubs to play for constituency league. BG Sport is reliably informed that the league sponsors Spar supermarket chain and BONA leadership agreed to divert the funds to the U21 national team preparations. In a recent interview, Lebotse Sebego said the netball family took a decision in 2013 to postpone the elective general assembly.
The assembly was supposed to have been hosted in April as per BONA constitution, a few weeks before the recently held Netball Youth Word Cup. “We took a deliberate decision that we are not going to run the elite league; we took a decision that we are going to focus on the U21 and converted the sponsorship to the youth world cup team,” said Lebotse Sebego. BONA senior athletes and coaches at club level recently lamented the inactivity of netball affiliates. BONA office is expected to release names of candidates vying for executive committee positions.
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president Tebogo Lebotse Sebego has recently thrown her hat in the Botswana National Olympic Committee presidential race.
This makes Lebotse Sebego the first woman to express interest in leading the Olympic movement. This surprise move has since sparked debate among Lebotse Sebego’s detractors who fear it is orchestrated to destabilise Botsang Tshenyego’s camp.
BG Sport is reliably informed that animosity between the BNOC president and senior vice president is a cause for concern. Tshenyego’s detractors argue that he is part of the blunders in the Kgosietsile administration while his supporters contend that he deserves a chance to ascend to the top position.
The senior vice president’s lobby list is made of incumbent executive members, with anoption to fill positions of senior vice president when he ascends and the 2nd vice president held by ageing Letsholo Letsholo. Other contestants have not released their lobby lists.
Outgoing BNOC president Negroes Kgosietsile encouraged affiliates to give women a chance to contest for top positions at the committee’s last Ordinary General Meeting. Meanwhile Sebego confirmed that she intends to seek nomination for the BNOC elections for the top position.
“I have already shared this with BONA and they have given me their blessings. I believe the past 10 years in sport, specifically netball, both locally and internationally, have prepared me enough to contribute significantly to Botswana sport in general at an elite level”, explained BONA president.
“There is a team of talented experienced sports leaders in our camp. We will officially launch our team and articulate our agenda and what we wish to achieve,” she said.
Lebotse-Sebego is credited for using her influence at the regional, continental and international netball bodies to bring the 2016 netball world youth cup to be hosted in Gaborone. It is not clear how the African Netball president will juggle the BNOC presidential campaign schedule and the hosting and organising of the imminent world cup event.
Gift Nkwe, France Mabiletsa, Daniel Molaodi and Botsang Tshenyego have thrown their hats in the BNOC presidential race as well. The incumbent Negroes Kgosietsile decided four years ago that he will not contest this time around, making way for new president to lead the elite Olympic sport to the next Commonwealth and Olympic games.
Meanwhile International Working Group (IWG) on Women secretary general Game Mothibi said they support women candidates who stand up and express their interest in positions of leadership. “Yes we are very much aware and support her candidacy and all other women who are ready to contest for BNOC positions as well as all other sport positions. We will be rallying behind them and we are planning a workshop with WASBO to assist those in positions for retention and those willing to come in for motivation”, explained Mothibi.
President of the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Tebego Lebotse-Sebego says the University of Botswana Campus Indoor Sports Centre meets international standards and is the ‘best venue’ in the country.
Local netball players tasted the modern facility last month during the 2016 Africa Netball World Youth Cup qualifiers. This was a unique experience for them because they are mostly used to outdoor courts. Lebotse-Sebego says indoor surface is much easier to play on and that any netball player would jump to the opportunity of playing indoor games.
Ahead of the 2017 Netball Youth championships games Sebego says, “It would be nice to have our very own facility if finances allowed, it would do our girls good because their competitors use indoor courts, however we are hoping to reach an agreement with the University to consider assisting us during world cup preparations.”
According to sports officer Botshelo Taolo at the University of Botswana Culture, Sports and Recreation department, construction of the building took time to complete but that the turnout of the facility has been impressive. The arena can accommodate 3841 people including the VIP section.
The venue includes basketball, volleyball, netball, badminton, squash and tennis courts as well as Physical Education student labs and a gym.Nevertheless, Taolo says that the state of the art Sports centre is not yet open to the public because they are still working around the clock to furnish and provide all necessary different sporting equipment for it to become fully operational.
A UB student interested in using the facility pays P50.00 while staff member pays P150.00 monthly for a one-hour daily session . The gym is open from 10am-7pm.
Some netball clubs affiliated to Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Northern Zone League are failing to meet their sporting obligations due to lack of sponsorship, BG Sport can reveal.
The clubs are now contemplating pulling out of the league as financial backing is drying up in the region.
Almost two clubs have not been part of the ongoing Spar Good For You league after pulling out citing lack of sponsorship. BOASA Netball Club has pulled out after Botswana Prisons Services (BPS) withdrew its sponsorship citing recession.
Selibe-Phikwe based Continental Aces had hinted on a return during the ongoing second round after failing to honour even a single match in the first stanza of the league. Some clubs have been failing to honour all of their games leading to a rescheduling of the games while other teams have seen 25 goals and three points being forfeited.
At a closed introspection meeting held at Mahube Primary School in Francistown, all the clubs affiliated to the northern stream sung the same song of lack of sponsorship. Sowa Flamingoes Netball Club based at Sowa is said to have publicly announced its intention to withdraw from the league.
BG Sport is reliably informed that the leadership of the BONA Northern Zone League has resorted to forfeiting goals and points against the clubs that fail to honour games as a desperate measure to encourage clubs, though in a harsh way, to attend matches.
However, BONA Northern Zone League Committee chairperson Kene Tjikwakwa defended the action as being in accordance with the constitution.