After weeks of uncertainty, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has granted approval for the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) to host the 2023 edition of the Africa Netball Cup.
This decision comes after extensive negotiations and numerous meetings involving BNSC, BONA, Africa Netball, and the management of the University of Botswana.
The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) initially faced constraints in providing support due to financial limitations and adherence to hosting policies.
Botswana was approached to host the tournament after Uganda withdrew, resulting in ten countries participating from November 26th to December 6th.
While financial issues posed a significant challenge, another hurdle was the timing of BONA’s hosting request, which was three months before the tournament, contrary to the hosting policy.
The BNSC’s policy requires NSAs (National Sports Associations) to notify 12 months in advance for regional competitions, 24 months for continental tournaments, and four years for world events.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the BNSC granted permission to host based on BONA securing sponsorship from Okavango Diamond Company amounting to P300,000 and securing the University of Botswana Indoor facility, recommended as the preferred venue.
Africa Netball will cover costs associated with officials and the annual general meeting running concurrently with the tournament.
Participating countries include South Africa, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Burundi.
The cumulative budget for the tournament, including preparations for Botswana’s national team, is approximately P600,000.
BONA President, Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile, emphasized the legacy benefit and the suitability of the University of Botswana indoor hall as a qualified venue for ranking matches. “We did not agree to host but they asked, and we informed them of our hosting policy as a country. The reason they begged Botswana is because previously we have hosted, and we are receiving floor for legacy benefit therefore we will be able to maintain that standard needed for the rankings. Further, University of Botswana indoor hall is a qualified venue for ranking matches,” Raditladi-Nkgakile said.
While expressing gratitude for the support received, BONA continues to seek additional corporate sponsors to ensure the success of the competition.
Hosting entails significant expenses, and securing more funding is crucial for the event’s overall success.
The minimum hosting requirements include a World Netball accredited venue, international umpires from the continent, and technical officials.
The Africa Netball Cup is held biennially, with teams from across the continent competing for top honors.
Botswana’s national netball team participated in the previous edition held in Namibia in 2021.