Debswana Diamond Company has announced a P1.2m sponsorship towards the preparations of the national U-21 netball team for the coming 2017 Netball World Youth Cup to be held in Gaborone in July. Speaking at the sponsorship launch Debswana Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo said grassroots development remains a key priority for the company. Bonyongo said Debswana is interested in seeing the country developing quality players for the future. He said sport remains an integral part of its social corporate responsibility. He said not even the infightings at associations will stop them from sponsoring sport. “We care about the future of the athletes, hence our sponsorship. We want to see Botswana having quality players in future,” said Bonyongo. He said the P1.2 Million will be going towards the team’s preparations for the World Cup, insisting that the money should not be used for anything else other than the team’s preparations. The sponsorship comes at a time when BONA is running out of time to finalise preparations for the world cup. Only three months are left before the start of the tournament.
BONA president Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego commended Debswana for the generous sponsorship,, saying they were the first private sponsor to come on board for the team. Lebotse-Sebego said the sponsorship will go a long way in getting the team into shape. As the hosts, Team Botswana will be expected to do well in the competition. The minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng also applauded Debswana for the sponsorship. “I wish to commend Debswana for their vision and corporate social responsibility of investing in the young ladies who will be representing Botswana at the world showpiece in July,” he said. The minister is optimistic that as the team will be playing at home, they will do well in the competition. Lebotse-Sebego said player availability for camps remains a challenge to the coaches. According to her, since most players are school going, it is difficult at times to have them together at all times. “Netball is a team sport; so players have to train together for them to play better together,” she explained. The U-21 team gets into camp every month in preparation for their July games. Despite the challenges, Lebotse-Sebego is confident that the team will gel well together even though there is little time left for preparations. She called on other private companies to do what Debswana has done and rally behind the team.