Four Botswana netball players leave for Singapore on Sunday for attachment to Super League clubs.
They will spend almost a month in Singapore before returning on February 16. The four players are BDF Cats shooter, Hilda Binang, UB Crystals shooter, Violet Oneile, Notwane mid court player, Sarona Hans and Jungle Queens defender, Letang Mogotlhwane.
Botswana Netball Association (BONA) spokesperson, Maplanka said one of the criteria used to select the players was age. She said Hans is only 16, while Mogotlhwane is 19. “In essence, we had three players in mind, a shooter, defender and mid court player,” she explaine. UB Crystals shooter, Boikanyo Selogetso was selected to go to Singapore but failed to make the trip due to injury. Maplanka said the Singapore netball authorities saw Botswana players in action recently during the Six Nations Cup tournament. She said the players did well and impressed the hosts though initially the Singapore authorities were skeptical because of their young age. “But after watching them, they were impressed with their skills,” she explained.
She said the exposure the players will gain will benefit the country as it prepares to host the World Cup in 2017. Even though Botswana failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, the country has been invited to take part in a development tournament. “We will be playing in the development tourney. This will form part of our preparations,” said Maplanka.
She said the attachment will give the players an opportunity to train with the Singapore national team which is coached by the highly rated former New Zealand coach, Ruth Aitken. New Zealand is one of the world’s netball powerhouses. It is ranked number two after Australia. Maplanka said Aitken has transformed the Singapore national team into a force to reckon with. “The change is visible. You can see there is a vast change in their play and approach to the game,” she asserted.
One of the players going to Singapore, Binang will be making the trip for the second time.
Maplanka said every year, organisers of the Singapore Super League invites international players to join each of the six teams in the competition. This year, four of the six players will be from Botswana. In 2012, Botswana sent three players, Kagisano Mawela, Tebogo Radipotsane and Ntebogang Motlakaloso to Singapore under the same programme.
Motlakaloso was voted the most valuable player, while last year Binang won the accolade.