Dinaledi brace for action

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 02 October 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
Botswana Senior Netball Team Botswana Senior Netball Team

The senior netball national team will  not compete at  this years’ Africa  Netball Championships slated for  Cape Town, South Africa  from the  18-22 of October. The  tournament  which  is  highly recognized by  the International Netball Federation(INF)  is a ranking event  and has  attracted  nine  countries being, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi ,South  Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and  Zimbabwe. According to available information, the Africa Championships  were to be held long before the  Netball  World Cup  early this year  but  was   postponed  to a later  date which  ended up    clashing  with   Singapore’s Six Nations tournament  which Botswana  long  agreed  to   compete in  during December  2018.

 Instead  Botswana  has   chosen to snub the  continental  tournament   for  a six nations  tournament   in Singapore  dubbed  M1 Nations Cup. The competition   which is also a ranking tournament  will run from the 20th -26th  of October at the OCBC Arena and has Namibia, Singapore, Cook Islands, Ireland, Papua New Guinea as  participating countries. For now  the  technical   team is conducting  final selections  from  the 27th -30th of September  for  the squad  before  playing    a friendly game with a Zimbabwean   club on  10-11 October  before  heading  to  Asia


“We are sending   our  team  to Singapore  but  this   championships happens  concurrently    with Africa Cup  and as the  executive committee we had to prioritize  the  Singapore trip  to maintain international  relations. Be informed that Botswana Netball Association (BONA) long made a commitment to Singapore before Africa Netball announced its dates for their   championships. The games   we are attending there will   afford   us to play against the best teams and they are ranking games as well,” explained BONA Vice President -Technical, Oteng Masole.

The  event  which  is Botswana’s first competitive   tournament  this year comes at the right time in which  the senior  national   team rakings are going  down  gradually  there  provide   a perfect opportunity   for the    team to earn some points. Currently Botswana is ranked 26th     out of 43 stream teams enlisted for the INF rankings. Though  there is  excitement of the  team retuning  to action  there  hasn’t  been  an league action or tournaments  which  could  have   helped  the technical   team   when  it comes to  picking players for the  team therefore  Dinaledi  has a massive task ahead  at  the competition against  sides  like  Cook Islands, Ireland  which have   been  active  all along while Singapore  has just  returned  from the  World Cup.


“ Previously  the association’s aim  was to  take  two  teams   for both  competitions  hence we called  all players starting  with  our Under  21 such that we select  and come up with two teams  which meant  we were going  to have more ratings  as we   could have  played in  both  tournaments but   it didn’t go  according to plan. But in Singapore  all the   nations  we are to play  are better  ranked than us so  we stand a chance to    improve our rakings depending  on our  performance  there. We started   training  three weeks  back but since we are not yet  on  camp it is just   once a day. So I will say the ongoing preparations have shown   improvement on two aspects being   fitness and agility. In the coming week we will be working on game plan and management,” said   head coach Sithulile Mlotshwa.

M1 Nations Cup 2019 Competition Schedule


20th October-Botswana vs Cook Islands

21st October-Botswana vs Singapore


22nd October-Papua New Guinea vs Botswana

23rd October –Botswana vs Ireland


25th October-Namibia vs Botswana

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