Cash-strapped Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has been forced to cancel the national team's trip to Singapore due to lack of funds.
Since the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup, BONA has known no financial peace, due to outstanding debts arising from hosting the global tournament.
The netball team was scheduled to take part in the M1 Cup, a prestigious invitational tournament in Asia. Eight nations, including Botswana were due to take part. BONA had announced that the team would ditch the Africa Cup scheduled to start in South Africa from next week for the Singapore tour.
However, due to lack of funds the local girls will have to watch from their television sets as their counterparts battle with some of the world’s best teams.
“It is sad to say that we will end the year without activity for our national teams. The main issue is that we are facing serious financial problems. The association (BONA) is still facing outstanding dues from the World Cup,” BONA public relations officer, Theresa Hirschfield told Mmegi Sport.
“There are a lot of invoices on our table that we need to clear before we can proceed to anything else. This is why we sought to suspend all our activities this year, the (Botswana National Sport Commission) grant is way too low to help us get out of this mud.”
She further said the association would need P350,000 to fund
“We had to source P350,000 for the trip. Singapore had agreed to take care of the accommodation cost, so the money was for the tickets, food and players’ allowances. As it stands, we have to go back to the BNSC and seek for their assistance.
It is unfortunate, this could affect the players’ morale. We can end up losing talent when we stay inactive for a longer time,” Hirschfield said.
After missing out on the Netball World Cup held in Liverpool, England, BONA is racing against time to prepare a team for the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup to be held in Fiji.
The African qualifiers are set for mid-2020 and Hirschfield said BONA has started to prepare for the tournament. “We are looking to spot talent at the Botswana games.
There are a lot of youngsters who are raising their hands to be picked for the team, so we will be looking at those.”
The local netball state has reached its lowest in a decade. The senior team has failed to participate in any major international tournament for two years now while the national netball league has not been played for a third successive season.