With almost a year to the Netball World Youth Cup, the organising team says it is ready to bring the first ever world event to Botswana. The cup will be hosted in Gaborone in July 2017; a nine-day event that will see 20 countries from five regions worldwide descending in Botswana to battle it out. The Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Mother Mokgadi said the event will feature about 240 under 21 players to compete in a total of 70 games at two competition venues in Gaborone. With Botswana being the first African country to host the event, Mokgadi said that is undoubtedly a huge honour for them because the games are an excellent pathway for athletes’ development.
Botswana having qualified automatically will host the African teams’ qualifiers from July 24 to 30, 2016 with three other African countries joining them to represent the continent. The qualifiers are also a test event to provide the International Netball Federation (INF) with an opportunity to gauge the preparedness of Botswana to host NWYC2017. “Be assured that we are more than ready to host the NWYC2017 African qualifiers. We are all systems go,” she said. Head of Netball Operations Neo Gwafila-Bulayani said countries that have already qualified are England, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Jamaica and Botswana. Botswana Television is the broadcast partner, and hence will stream some games live while others will be recorded. The venues are the UB indoor sports arena and Boipuso Hall.
According to Bulayani, to prove that they are ready they will be using 100% trained local officials as bench officials for 2016/17. She said that INF is the one to decide on umpires. “From a technical point of view, Botswana is ready,” she said. The patron of netball in Botswana Botlogile Tshireletso said she is very excited because in less than a year multitudes will descend upon Botswana and urged Batswana to make the nation proud. She urged the members of the public to support team Botswana and rally behind them 110%. “It is an opportunity for us to showcase the warm hospitality we are well known for; this is a historic era for netball in Botswana,” she said.