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Re A Ba Tsaa leaves netball in debt

KABELO BORANABI
Botswana hosted a largely successful World Cup, bur debts remain
The Netball Youth World Cup, which Botswana hosted last year, has left holes in the pockets of the Botswana Netball Association (BONA).

The tournament was the first global netball tournament to be held in Africa.  The nation was caught in euphoria, as the competition, popularised by the catchphrase #ReaBaTsaa attracted 20 teams from across the world to compete at the Under-21 level. But after the excitement died down, it has emerged that BONA was left with serious financial scars and some suppliers remain unpaid. According to sources, BONA is struggling to pay the outstanding dues resulting from the competition a year after the games were held. The organising committee had managed to secure around P3 million in sponsorship deals, which came as both cash and in kind.  “BONA is in serious debt, even to this day the (BONA executive) committee is still receiving invoices from the games. It turns out that the ogarnising committee did not make any quotations for the services they acquired, they did not make a proper budget, now it has come back to haunt the current BONA committee,” a source said.

“They even had a meeting with BNSC (Botswana National Sport Commission) not long ago, as they tried to map a way to deal with the outstanding debts.”  Another insider revealed that BONA is struggling to fund their activities as the P500, 000 the association had in its account, was gobbled up by Re A Ba Tsaa debts. BONA public relations officer, Theresa Hirschfield declined to comment on the matter, but instead said the association is battling to secure sponsorships for the national teams.  “I cannot comment on that issue because our committee assumed power in November, so issues of the World Cup should be directed to the people who were in power during that time. For us, we are struggling to fund national team activities like World Cup qualifiers.

We have since asked for assistance from the BNSC because the corporate entities are unwilling to put money in sport due to the economic recession that hit the country a few years back,” she said.

Hirschfield

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further said since the World Cup, there has been little improvement in the netball facilities. She said they had hoped that some of the courts would have been revamped to accommodate international matches.  “Currently we rely on the UB facility. We do not have a court that can host international matches.”  However, on the positive note, Hirschfield said the World Cup popularised the sport in the country. She said BONA established the men’s league and that has seen the number of spectators increase.  “During the World Cup, a number of people became interested in the sport and ever since we introduced a men’s league the numbers at the courts have since doubled. We also have five or six girls who were part of the World Cup, promoted to the senior team.

But the downside is that we have not managed to attract sponsors to the game.  We only retained Spar Botswana who assist the senior national team,” she said.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Prisca Mokgadi confirmed the committee was running on a deficit. Although she did not disclose figures, Mokgadi said the LOC budget had been overstretched and have since sought assistance from the BNSC. “We compiled our report as the LOC and we submitted it to the BNSC. We are currently on a deficit, our budget was stretched.  We have presented the matters to the BNSC and we are hoping that the government through the sports commission will help,” Mokgadi said. 

Meanwhile, the senior national team will seek to secure a place at the 2019 World Cup, as they compete in the regional qualifiers to be held in Zambia from August 14 to 18.  The team faces stern competition from regional powerhouses such as Zimbabwe and Uganda. South Africa and Zambia have qualified by virtue of being the best-ranked teams in the region. The local team departed today as they travel to the Zambian capital by road. England hosts the 2019 World Cup.



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