Mmegi Online :: Where is the netball euphoria?
Last Updated
Monday 20 August 2018, 14:43 pm.
Where is the netball euphoria?

Why is that one can hear a pin drop in the middle of Botswana’s preparations for the World Netball Youth Cup? The competition, which draws together 20 countries from across the world including England and Australia, is just over a month away but the silence is deafening.
By Mmegi Editor Wed 31 May 2017, 15:32 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Where is the netball euphoria?

The street poles in the capital are too clean for a country about to welcome the world.

It is a sharp contrast to what the country witnessed during the run-up to the 2014 Gaborone Africa Youth Games. Botswana emerged with a bulging reputation after it hosted a near seamless competition which attracted 54 countries. But as the country puts final touches to a world (and not continental) competition, there is a languid pace to the preparations.

The tournament’s mascot, Naletsana was launched during a low key warm up tournament, while the advertisement for the tournament has been tepid.

The euphoria has to be created but we are afraid the clock is ticking fast. The organisers have made it public that they face budgetary constraints as they battle to raise P30 million to ensure an efficient tournament.

But that should not be a sufficient excuse as other avenues to take the tournament to the people can be explored. Social media, available at the tip of the finger and with a massive reach, has been grossly underutilised or ignored.

A team’s tour around Gaborone and surrounding villages will ignite that sense of ownership. Fans need to meet and know their team; not to see them on television or meet the players at the courts on match day.

Not much hype has been created and after the ‘feather-in-cap’ Africa Youth Games experience, expectation was that the nation would grow from strength to strength and become the continent’s hub


for hosting sports events. We do not believe it is too late and a sharp turnaround in the last 30 days can swing the tide and the fans’ mood.

This is the first global netball event to be held on the African soil and the world netball mother body, the International Netball Federation (INF) would feel vindicated for the delay in giving the continent a hosting opportunity.

We are not yet at a crisis level, but we feel we are inching closer, which is the reason why we decided to press the panic button. The nation needs to be told otherwise through reassuring and confidence boosting measures. It is now up to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to dispel any fears through action.

We want tangible evidence of progress on the ground and hosting the World Cup should not only be about immaculate organisation. Sport is about spectators.

We do not envisage a situation where empty seats greet thousands of viewers watching on television across the world. We would want to see the University of Botswana venue filled to capacity, particularly when Botswana plays. This is how a nation brands itself to the world; let this not be a missed branding opportunity.

It is never too late, the next 30 days will provide a stern test and critically, it should be all hands on deck (and not just the LOC) as all eyes will be on Botswana from July 8-16 and beyond.

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