Botswana's Africa Netball Cup debut concludes without a podium finish, both the men's and the women's team lost their games yesterday at the UB Indoor Sports Arena. The two sides were battling it out for bronze.
The men's lost losing 46-27 to Kenya whilst senior women netball team also lost their third position match 53-44 to Zimbabwe.
Kenya's early advantage in height, led by shooter Francis Wachira, dominated Botswana's defence. Larona Matlhaga was able to find the net for Botswana as the game progressed. By then Kenya were enjoying the lead. Despite Botswana's comeback, narrowing the margin to 11-9 by the quarter's end, Wachira's relentless play continued. Tuelo Kgomokhumo was unfortunate as his attempt hit the outer ring while the Kenyan defence was fast enough to steer clear of danger.
Botswana created chances, reducing the scoreline to 20-15 by halftime.
In the second half, Botswana improved, creating more opportunities, but the visitors' goalkeeper, Isaac Langat made a brilliant turnover to cut Botswana's movement. Kenya maintained control, winning the quarter 33-24.
Despite Botswana's fighting spirit in the last quarter, scoring proved challenging. Kenya's coach, Mugisha Ali, told Mmegi Online that their strategy was to force Botswana into short passes, countering accuracy and speed. "Botswana was accurate at long passes and speed. So we had to force them to play shorter passes and backwards. We were also sure that the circle was solid," he said. Ali highlighted Wachira's experience and agility at 6.7 feet tall, which worked to their advantage.
Botswana's coach, Boipelo Makwatse, acknowledged the unsuccessful attempt to mark Kenya in mid-court due to their tall shooter.
"Height is a challenge for us, and we have realised that it works in netball. Mental strength was also lacking as you saw us easily losing balls," Makwatse said.
Makwatse stressed the need for improvement, recognising the team's hesitancy in taking responsibility during the match. The commendable effort fell short, denying Botswana the bronze medal.