Net­ball team fine-tunes for qual­i­fiers

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

THE un­der-21 net­ball team is set to be whit­tled down ahead of the Africa Net­ball World Youth cup qual­i­fiers to be held in Botswana on 24 July 2016.

Ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Matšepo Mo­hau, the team cur­rently con­sists of 20 play­ers who will be trimmed to 12 be­fore de­part­ing for Botswana next Wed­nes­day.

“We have a team of 20 play­ers which as­sem­bled ear­lier this month and has been taken through its paces by coach Khauh­elo Mokapela,” Mo­hau said in an in­ter­view this week.

“The team was se­lected from our league and from the Le­sotho In­sti­tutes Sports As­so­ci­a­tion. The cri­te­ria for se­lec­tion was quick think­ing play­ers with good vi­sion, great judge­ment, high de­gree of ac­cel­er­a­tion, an­tic­i­pa­tion, agility, strength, stamina among other at­tributes. We are happy with the pool of play­ers we have at our dis­posal.”

She said Le­sotho would face off with topranked op­po­nents such as South Africa and Malawi in the qual­i­fiers.

“As far as the qual­i­fiers are con­cerned, we know they will not be easy be­cause we will be play­ing against top-ranked coun­tries, while our team has not par­tic­i­pated in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions for some time,” said Mo­hau.

“We will not put our team un­der pres­sure be­cause we don’t ex­pect mir­a­cles from them. The team can use the tour­na­ment as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

She said the team would get much-needed ex­po­sure by play­ing in a con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion against top play­ers.

“Play­ing against coun­tries ranked higher than you is also a mo­ti­va­tion to want to prove a point, so our girls are look­ing for­ward to the tour­na­ment.”

The other coun­tries com­pet­ing in the qual­i­fiers are Namibia, Swazi­land, Uganda, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe, with the top three coun­tries qual­i­fy­ing for the World Cup which will also be held in Botswana next year.

“Botswana have al­ready se­cured qualification for the World Cup as the hosts, so we have a chance to be among the top three teams to qual­ify for the show­case,” Mo­hau said.

“All the play­ers in our squad are ex­pected to re­port for camp on Thurs­day (to­day) and hope­fully play some friendly games be­fore we leave for Botswana in or­der to test how ready they are men­tally and phys­i­cally.”

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