Diamond giant’s to sponsor national league again
After a frustrating 2023, where a lack of finances forced the sport into hibernation, there’s a sparkling light in sight at the end of the year for netball.
Not for the first time, the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) have been bailed out by Lucara, with the diamond mine digging-up P300, 000 to sponsor a national league.
Lucara donated the same amount last year, their backing signaling a return to domestic action after four years of inactivity.
Dormant since 2018, the local league’s revival had an immediate impact on the national team, who, finally match fit, ended 2022 with a stunning victory at the Singapore Nations Cup.
Exactly a year ago, Botswana’s world ranking stood at 34, an all time low for the locals.
The Singapore success saw their international standing improve considerably, rising to 24th in the space of a month. Now up to 23rd in the world, BW are in sight of their best ever ranking of 16, achieved back in 2007.
It is hoped Lucara’s return to netball marks the start of more good times.
Speaking at the sponsorship unveiling on Tuesday, BONA President, Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile revealed that with the year fast approaching its end, the league is likely to start in January 2024.
“Though some people might think this money is small, for us its millions because we have nothing. Without action, players are lost from the sport; through Lucara’s support last year our team improved since there was action. It means a lot to us, because from our side we were to give a report on the first installment and we did that and they were happy,” said Raditladi-Nkgakile.
When the league does begin, defending champions, Police once again look the team to beat.
Explaining why they saw fit to renew their investment in netball, Lucara Botswana MD, Naseem Lahri, said, “We want to support talent and sports in Botswana and leave good legacies behind.
“If we support teams they can make history and we want to see those whom we support to be seen at international level excelling. This money will ease the strain you are facing as netball because its difficult in sports and not everyone looks up to sports. During our times sports was never in the forefront with academics taking much priority but we are about to change that because we want to see netball excelling.”
Lucara have also extended a P300, 000 sponsorship towards local motorcyclist, Ross Branch, as the ‘Kalahari Ferrari’ gears up for the grueling Dakar Rally, set for Saudia Arabia from 5 – 19 January.