Maun — Debswana in collaboration with Botswana Netball Association (BONA) and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) have launched a netball centre in Maun under Re Ba Bona Ha programme.
Netball comes in as the 13th sport code to be launched under the programme courtesy of Debswana, which sponsored the programme since 2008.
The programme was launched in 2000 as a pilot project and currently covers sporting codes such as athletics, basketball, chess, boxing, karate, volleyball, softball, tennis, judo, cricket, rugby, football and now netball.
Speaking during the launch, OLDM senior manager engineering, Lefoko Sethoko said as partner to the journey of the programme, they were excited to launch netball in Maun.
He revealed that when Debswana began sponsorship of Re Ba Bona Ha with an initial funding of P1.7 million in 2008, the programme had only four sports code. In the 10 years, he said they had invested P9.7 million.
He said the programme had reached areas such as Tsabong, Kasane, Shakawe, Gumare, Ghanzi, Serowe, Lobatse, Kanye and Maun among others.
Sethoko also pointed out that since the inception of the programme, about 15 000 athletes and 250 coaches had been groomed with notable graduates such as Kabelo Dambe of football, Tracy Chaba of volleyball, Refilwe Murangi of athletics amongst others.
"These are athletes who have not only used sport as source of income but represented the country at numerous continental and international competitions. We have in the past witnessed lives that have been touched and transformed," he added.
He said a number of youth were currently earning a living through sport having graduated while some were even engaged as part-time coaches under the programme.Based on such achievements, Sethoko said Debswana had lived up to their brand promise of mining diamonds and enriching the nation.
The millions of pulas, he said, which were contributed over the past 10 years had assisted in mining the talents and enriched a lot of young people.
He added that the investment showed that their focus and interest were not only to develop world champions but develop communities through sport as they believe that sport was a tool for development, promotion of peace and unity.
Sethoko urged all to continue to work together to harness the power of sport to change people's lives for the better.
BNSC chairperson, Prof. Martin Mokgwathi appreciated Debswana's support in sport development saying the launching of netball centre was part of their initiatives to ensure that talented young athletes were offered an opportunity to develop their talents and excel in sport as per the BNSC Vision 2028; sport for all, for excellence and prosperity.
Grassroot sport development, he said remained priority at the commission hence the formulation and launch of Re Ba Bona Ha sport development porgramme many years ago.
He appreciated that the programme was also reflected in the Vision 2028 saying they wished to use it as a nursery for sport identification and development.
BONA president, Malebo Raditlad said the centre would be a foundation as they want children to see netball as a career.