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 top-ranked 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.”