Botswana netball preps gather right momentum

> Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – Only in January, Botswana’s Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) preparations appeared terribly off course, with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) saddled with a nearly P20 million (R25,2 million) budget deficit.

The Botswana government offered P10.9 million (R13.7m) while the estimated cost of organising the global showpiece is P30 million (R37.8m).

The LOC was expected to raise the difference in just six months to ensure a seamless first ever World netball event on African soil.

“This (finance) is an area that is significantly lagging behind. The NWYC secretariat continues to engage potential sponsors. However, the response for the project from sponsors has been slow. We continue to implore the private community to support NWYC2017,” Botswana Netball Association president, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego, said when she gave the last media update early February.

But four major deals were announced in quick succession, with Botswana Post, diamond mining company, Debswana, Brand Botswana and public broadcaster, Botswana Television (Btv) announcing major deals.

Three of the deals came in March with more sponsors expected on board as the budget deficit still remains, although Lebotse-Sebego could not give the exact figure.

Last week, Debswana became the biggest sponsor thus far with a P1.2 million (R1.5m) deal, while Btv announced a broadcasting arrangement this week.

Also coming on board was Brand Botswana, government’s arm tasked with promoting the country as an investment and tourist destination.

“It is encouraging to be getting commitment from the sponsors. We continue to engage with other potential sponsors, especially in the security and transport space as that is where we are lagging,”

Lebotse-Sebego said this week, as Botswana marked 100 days before the week-long tournament kicks-off in Gaborone on July 8.

Twenty countries are expected in Gaborone, with hosts, Botswana, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Africa’s four representatives.

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