*Mining giants inject P300 000 into the national league
There is finally a ray of hope for netball after Lucara Diamond Botswana injected P300 000 towards supporting the netball national league.
It’s been almost three years without any league action after the sponsorship deal between My Spar My Botswana and Botswana Netball Association (BONA) came to an end after the 2018 season.
Since then, the association failed to secure any other sponsor to carry on with the league.
Therefore the cash injection by Lucara Botswana come as something of a blessing for local clubs which have been ailing for the longest time.
Speaking at the sponsorship launch, Lucara Botswana Managing Director- Naseem Lahri, said their gesture shows their commitment to Botswana and the unity which sports brings.
“It’s so important that we help the community we are in. This money will be used to run the national league and we are hoping that it will be beneficial to netball. We want to see national teams performing well at international tournaments. We have a mandate to develop competitive athletes who can be exported internationally,” she said.
Ever since the absence of the national league, the standards have dwindled with Dinaledi- as the senior ladies team is also known, becoming the whipping girls of Africa at international tournaments.
Rankings also decreased over the period with the team now ranked 27th in the World Netball rankings as of 1st March 2022.
For her part, BONA president Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile thanked Lucara Botswana for the good gesture.
“We want to thank Lucara who heard our cry when we came seeking help. Though they did not have enough money they committed to developing this girl child sport. We will make the best use of these funds and treasure your support to eternity. Your support will surely open the eyes of those who had doubts in supporting netball,” she said.
The league sponsorship comes at a time when Dinaledi will be preparing for the Africa World Cup qualifiers which are slated for South Africa in August.
Therefore the league will come in handy since the team will use it in their preparations for the qualifiers to build momentum and match fitness.
BONA mouthpiece, Mokeresete Mokeresete, told Voice Sport that they are aiming to start the league in May and conclude in October.
“We are yet to agree on the prize money for the league, the money is not enough as many might think. Our teams are amateur so most of them are on zero budgets therefore we have to give them grants. But only after the annual general meeting in April that’s when we will know how much we are giving to teams since now most of our north zone affiliates are still concluding their compliance at the Registrar of Societies. Once they are done we will admit them back, know how many teams we have for the league, how much we are giving them and how much we remain with for administration purposes,” he said.
As it stands BONA only have nine affiliates who are compliant with the Registrar of Societies, namely Jwaneng Netball Club, Thamaga Jaspers, BDF Cats, Notwane, UB Crystals, Prisons, Police, Vipers and Tafic.