Botswana National Netball team leaves for Blantyre today (Friday) for the 3rd Africa Championships.
Transport mogul AT&T Monnakgotla hosted a sending off ceremony for the team at the company’s premises on Thursday.
Apart from the hosts, the local girls will join other netballers from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Swaziland.
The tournament to be held at the renovated Malawi Youth Centre is a crucial competition for the local girls as countries will be ranked after the competition.
Heading into the tournament, Botswana is ranked 16th worldwide and third in Africa.
Despite threats from countries like Uganda, Botswana remains optimistic of improving their world ranking.
Kelebogile Maplanka, the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) Marketing and Publicity Officer said the sendoff gesture extended to them by AT&T Monnakgotla will motivate the girls ahead of the tournament.
“These are world ranking games.
Our good performance will definitely prove that we are counted among the best in the world,” said Maplanka.
She further said they will use the tournament as a yardstick of how they are likely to fair in the World Qualifying Games next.
Responding to threats posed by Uganda on the local team, Maplanka said: “We are not trembling at all.”
Twelve players have been selected to represent the country.
The team comprises of Kagisano Mawela, Goitsemodimo Dikinya, Ntebogang Motlakaloso, Kelebogile Mangole, Florah Keeditse, Tumisang Bagidi, Francinah Eyman, Hildah Binang, Gagotheko Tshelametsi, Portia Rasekhumba, Tshegofatso Tlhabuswe and Thulaganyo Retshabile.
Reports from Malawi are that the Malawian Queens under the tutelage of Peace Chawinga-Kalua and Mary ‘Atcheya’ Waya have intensified their preparations ahead of the tournament that has got all the ingredients of producing fireworks.