Botswana netball continues to go down the international rankings following inactivity of the national teams in International Netball Federation (INF) recognised tournaments. Following the release of the new rankings Botswana currently occupies spot number 26th in the stream of 43 teams with INF world rankings. Botswana was ranked 21st in 2017, the best ranking ever for the country in the history of netball. However limited games and a string of poor results led to the team falling gradually to 25th in June this year.
The latest rankings reflect performances from all games which were played from the beginning of July. In the INF system it is only the senior national teams which are ranked and since Botswana side has not been active they have not accumulated any points in a long period of time. With the current status of netball, Botswana risk exiting the rankings since 43 nations are enlisted in the rankings worldwide, and hence the prolonged lack of action for the team will lead to continual fall in rankings.
“If we are not playing there is no how we will go up, we need to play more rankings games. When we are not playing other countries, which are active will surpass us. Look Zambia was not at the World Cup but they have been going up because they have been active in other games,” said a close observer.
In the past years Botswana used to compete in four nations tournaments in Asia most precisely Singapore however that has since stopped.
“If you are invited to attend a tournament so much is at stake but if you turn down the offer at the 11th hour citing lack of funds for travel that kills the trust and those countries will never invite you again and but get another countries. We are getting those invitations for Pent series, Sri Lanka and Diamond challenge and we are working on making sure that this year we attend so that we are able to lift our rankings,” said Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President Malebo Raditladi.
The dwindling rankings have also been a worrying factor to clubs and players around the country.
“We should work on improving the way we do things. In short this is not good for us because for the national team to be good and active there has to be contributions from clubs. So we have to gear up and take netball back to where it belongs. Looking at netball I can’t say money is failing us. Yes, we don’t have the league but as the clubs what we can do it to encourage players to do something and train because we don’t know when we are going to have the league. So we should do something, organize tournaments, sponsors will join us while we are doing something,” said Police Netball Club manager Godwin Mochawacha.
One of the senior national team players Boikanyo Selogetso is of the view that a lot has to be done. “The absence of the league and proper development structures from under 13-23 is a major problem. Sometimes we go on camp unfit then we get poor results and injuries. At least if some netball association can organise four nations tournaments that will help to prepare the team well in time and assist us to improve,” she said.