Netball ditch Africa Cup for Singapore tourney

The team will go to Singapore. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The team will go to Singapore. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The national netball team will not take part in the upcoming Africa Netball Cup in South Africa from October 18 to 22.

It will instead compete at the M1 Nations Cup in Singapore from October 20 to 26.

Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Malebo Raditladi said there was late communication from the Africa Netball on the dates of the Africa Cup while they long made commitment to the M1 cup. She said due to financial constraints, the team will only take part in the Singapore spectacle.

“We would have loved to take part in both, but they run concurrently. The NEC (National Executive Committee) had to prioritise the Singapore trip to maintain international relations,” she said.

“Be informed that BONA made a commitment to Singapore before AN (Africa Netball) announced the dates for the championship, so we are unable to honour both championships due to limited funds.”

“Again international games are scheduled way in advance. So you cannot commit to a competition and one day wakeup after six months to say now I would not make it. That means you will incur cost to the advertising and replacement for your mess, so when we commit we need to understand effects of that commitment and we have to honour the invitation otherwise it will end up costing us more than what we bargained (for),” Raditladi said.

“If we can all learn to plan our events in good time, that’s why in administration there is something called year plan. So you plan your year ahead so you don’t fall in other people’s plans.” 

She further said the Singapore tournament provides a perfect platform for the country to improve the team’s raking on the world stage. Botswana continues to drop in the world rankings. In two years, the team has dropped from 19th spot to 26th.

“We will continue to drop if we do not take part in competitions or made to choose one competition over the other. If there are funds, we can compete in more competitions and get a higher ranking. By not taking part in competitions against the best, we will continue to drop, that’s the painful part of team sport. (We need) to give players game time at different levels also, because you are ranked the best only when you can challenge the top teams, you cannot be the best when you are home,” she said. 

BONA, will host a national team selection from September 27 to 30 for the M1 Nations Cup. Botswana will be part of a six-nation netball championship.

The team will compete against the hosts, Singapore, 24th placed Ireland, Namibia (32nd), Papua New Guinea (19th), and Cook Islands (16th) at the OCBC Arena. Meanwhile, Raditlapi has pleaded with the private sector to lend in a hand to BONA, which is facing financial challenges.

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