Lebotse-Sebego calls for netball transformation

Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego during the interview..Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse
Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego during the interview..Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse

She oozes excitement and ambition from her every pore when she speaks about what she calls her first love- netball.

The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego has just been re-elected Africa Netball president and will be at the helm for the next four years.

She is serving her second term after her first election in 2010, when the 19member body was formed. Two countries, Burundi and Ivory Coast have applied for affiliation. Lebotse-Sebego said her first priority is to change governance in all associations, which are members of Africa Netball. She said governance is a major challenge facing most African countries.

“African countries should come up with constitutions that are robust and can cover a broad ground.

“There are 53 African countries, but the sport is played in English-speaking countries only. We have to work hard and introduce netball in French speaking countries,” she said. Lebotse-Sebego argued that it is high time netball is introduced in both the All Africa Games and Olympic Games.  She pointed out that support remains a challenge just like in other women sports. Despite that, she said the Botswana government has released the budget for the 2017 Gaborone World Youth Netball Cup.  Lebotse-Sebego became the president of BONA in 2007, a position she was elected to three times and which she holds to date.

“My first year in office was bad. I had to change a lot of things together with my committee. The issue of governance, especially changing of the constitution was on top of the list,” she said. She said by then most administrators were men and did not want to give women a chance to prove themselves.  She said they made sure that more women were brought into the running of the association.

“Netball is a women’s sport and men had to understand that. They should give women a chance to lead. When BONA constitution was reviewed, we included men’s netball,” said Lebotse-Sebego. Referring to the BONA league, she said the competition stopped in 2013 after the Spar sponsorship elapsed.

She said before the sponsorship expired, they came up with a proposal for a tournament for the top 100 players in the country. She said the main challenge was lack of resources to run two competitions at the same time.  When asked about poor performance of the national team, BONA president said there is need to come up with a technical strategy.  She pointed out that it was unfortunate local coaches have not been trained at that level. She added that the strategy must be in place before 2017. Lebotse-Sebego said she started playing netball in 1984 at Gabane Primary School. In 1990, she joined BDVC netball until 2003 when she moved to play for Notwane club.

She retired in 2005 and is married to another sports administrator, Botswana Football Association president, Tebogo Sebego.

Lebotse-Sebego said their union makes her life easier as her husband understands the dynamics of sports.

“Even when I am away from the family, he knows it comes with the job. Ga ke thoke VISA thata (I don’t need his permission most of the time,” she says with a giggle.

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