The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) southern zone committee has appointed Thulaganyo Retshabile as competition manager for the Lucara Diamond-sponsored national league. The league will run from June to December, with the first part of the tournament being the group stages, while the second, will see teams compete in the top eight and the finals.
In appointing Retshabile, southern zone committee chairperson, Malebogo Mophalane, said the competition manager would work hand-in-hand with the southern zone vice chairperson in the running of the league.
For her part, Retshabile told Mmegi Sport that she is ready to render her services for the betterment of the game in Botswana. “We need to raise the game standard to the level of the Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017). My role will be to lead on the competition operational planning, ensuring that the competition is organised and conducted in accordance with the World Netball rules and regulations,” she said. Meanwhile, BONA received a shot in the arm from diamond mining company, Lucara, to run the competition.
The company has sponsored the netball league with P300,000. The sponsorship came at a time when netball was struggling to secure league sponsorship for almost three years. The previous league sponsor, My Spar My Botswana, deal came to an end in 2018.
The southern zone has eight women's clubs and six men's clubs. In the north, there are five women's clubs and two men's clubs. BONA is also in the process of preparing the national team for the Africa Netball World Cup qualifiers to determine teams that will compete at the 2023 Netball World Cup. The qualifiers will take place in Pretoria from August 20-27. When asked if the national team was ready for the qualifiers and if it stood a chance to qualify for the World Cup, Retshabile said with the level of preparations, they do not stand a chance. “Nations have started intense training. Next week there is Tri-Nations to be held in Malawi, between Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. For us, it seems like we do not have any plan for international friendlies. The top three teams; South Africa, Malawi, and Uganda have international players that will boost their squads,” she said.