… As it lines up for M1 Nations Cup in Singapore
As the countdown towards the M1 Nations Cup tournament approaches, the senior netball team coach Sithulile Mlotshwa has high hopes for her team which she selected for Botswana’s first national assignment this year.
Dinaledi is expected to depart on October 17 for the tournament which will run from October 20 to 22 at OCBC arena in Singapore. The Asian competition has attracted six countries amongst them Namibia, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and hosts.
Following weeks of hard trials, coach Mlotshwa has finally selected a pool of 12 players who have the massive task of redeeming Botswana at the Asian tournament. Despite lack of action this season, the technical team has opted for mostly former members of the famous Dinaletsana squad in the likes of Fatimah Dino, Maipelo Mosotho, Cheludo David, Boikanyo Selogetso ,Barati Phesodi and Kgomotso Matibini. However the youthful players have been blended with experienced players such as Francinah Eyman, Ntebogang Motlakaleso and Natasha Siku. Tumisang Bagidi, Kempho Ngongorego, Gagotheko Tshelametsi concludes the team.
With Botswana’s dwindling rankings at International Netball Federation the championship provides a perfect chance for team to score some vital points. Botswana occupies spot number 26th on the world rankings however majority of the teams which Dinaledi will play are better ranked with Cook Islands at 12th, Papua New Guinea 20th, Ireland 25th, Singapore 28th while Namibia is placed 33rd .
The last time the team tasted some competitive action was last year during the Diamond Series Tournament in South Africa. Since then, they have had practice matches against Sri Lanka in June who were busy preparing en-route to the World cup In Liverpool.
Nevertheless Botswana is not new to the tournament as they have been competing in it since 2008 where they came close to winning the championship but lost during the finals against Papua New Guinea.
From 2009 until 2013 Botswana did not take part in the event but returned in 2014 and 2015 where they finished third and fourth respectively. Botswana went on to win a bronze during the 2016 edition. After missing the 2017 and 2018 editions it remains to be seen if Dinaledi will come back strong and mount a serious challenge for the championship like they did in the past years.