Netball team set for Singapore

Baitshepi Sekgweng

After a promising but ultimately unsuccessful outing at the 2023 Africa World Cup qualifiers in South Africa back in August, Botswana’s senior women’s netball team return to international action next month.

The ladies have once again been invited to take part in the Singapore Six Nations Tournament, set for the OCBC Arena in Kallang from 4-10th December.

Put on the backburner since 2019 due to Covid-19, this year’s round-robin competition also features: Singapore, Fiji, Ireland and Malaysia while the hosts, who are ranked 34th in the world, will also field an ‘A’ team.

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With a world rating of 28th, a ranking that has plummeted due to a combination of poor results and lack of competitive outings, Botswana are the second lowest ranked nation in the tournie after the hosts.

Fiji, Ireland and Malaysia are ranked 15th, 24th and 25th respectively.

Last time out Botswana finished third, their best result since 2008, when they lost out to Papa New Guinea in the final by just two goals. The bronze medal was all the more impressive considering the local league was inactive at the time.

The local ladies have been invited back to Singapore to take part in the event four more times since then, managing a hat-trick of third place finishes and a 4th place in 2015.

Confirming the national team’s participation at the tournament, Botswana Netball Association (BONA) mouthpiece, Mokeresete Mokeresete told Voice Sport they were confident of doing well.

“Indeed we are going to the tournament. The national team is the pride of the nation so we need to improve our rankings and gauge our progress more so that this time around we are heading to the tournament at a time in which we are having a fully functional and competitive national league,” said Mokeresete.

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“Remember we just came from the World Cup qualifiers two months back, so this will be another stern test for the team and a competitive platform. Even the coach wants to build a solid team because we expect to be with her until next year,” she continued.

As for 2023, Botswana’s only major tournament looks likely to be the Africa Netball Cup, though dates for the tournie are still to be finalised.

As it stands, Coach Jenny Van Dyk has been busy with team selections-with the final ones expected this weekend during the Lucara National League finale.

“Already we have been offered accommodation, so for us as an association we have to only worry about flight tickets, food for players and allowances during the tournament. But we are doing everything available in our power to pull resources together since we are seeking sponsorships from the corporate world to supplement what we have as BONA,” concluded Mokeresete.

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