Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has received a major boost following the approval of Reba-Bona-Ha (RBBH) Development programme into their structures by Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).
This follows a call by BONA president Malebo Raditladi early this year for the inclusion of netball in the programme in order to enhance the sport’s development structures.
Botswana netball has struggled with producing young talent apart from the famous junior team which did wonders at the Netball Youth World Cup in 2017.
Due to lack of proper development structures, BONA has relied on the same old players over a long period of time, something which has prompted them to submit a proposal for inclusion in the popular development programme.
According to BNSC Sport Development Manager-Technical, Mission Mereyotlhe, they saw it fit to approve BONA’s request to support elite athlete development that will increase the standard of performance in sport in Botswana.
“It is indeed true that we have now included netball in the programme. We want to grow the programme and we are continuing to asses other requests from other sporting codes. Debswana is so supportive of this programme and they see the value in their sponsorship. We just recently evaluated Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) Reba Bona Ha programme and it is our hope that it will get us results soon. Grassroots programmes feed into elite sport, making sure RBBH delivers one of its main deliverables,” he said.
BONA has already hit the ground running ; utlising the Sport Development Fund grants by hosting a school holiday camp in Mmadinare Senior Secondary School last month. The event attracted 40 athletes from U20 players, Centres of School Excellence (CSE) athletes and Out of school players with the aim of building a base squad for the upcoming Netball World Youth Qualifiers (NWYC) in 2020, and the U20 team that will compete in the AUSC Region 5 games in 2020 and guiding the selection process of the U21 team and the U20 teams.
According to Mereyotlhe, BNSC spends close to P400 000 annually in Sport Development Funds (SDF) on organising school holiday camps.
“On annual basis BNSC supports national sports associations through funding outside their annual grants to arrange school holiday camps, out of school camps and buying equipment. We assisted taekwondo, volleyball, softball, rugby, netball, boxing and hockey to run school holiday programmes, out of school and general grassroots development programme. Through SDF we bought equipment for various sporting codes for primary schools in Xanagas, New Xade and Kuke. This is also a way of contributing to the society at large. It is our desire to cover these schools through some coaching clinics and also to cover other primary schools,” said Mereyotlhe.
Reba-Bona-Ha has proved to be very effective in chess where many young players have been produced. Chess has in the past groomed up high profile players in the likes of Woman Fide Masters; Besa Masaiti and Naledi Marape who went on to impress in both local and international events having started in the development structures of Reba-Bona-Ha. The inclusion of netball in the programme will help to unearth more future stars that have gone through all development stages of a player.