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In its efforts to develop local sports, Lucara Botswana this week handed a P300 000 of sponsorship to the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) and the sensational local biker, Ross Branch respectively.
For BONA, the funds will go towards the the Botswana Premier Netball League. The sponsorship marks a second year period from 2022 since the diamond company started supporting both BONA and Branch.
Speaking during the unveiling of sponsorship, Lucara Botswana Managing Director Naseem Baru Lahri said they also aim to diversify the economy through sports as it has the potential to develop livelihoods, make athletes shine highlighting the likes Branch and Letsile Tebogo who he said are some of the top athletes to look up to.
Lahri noted that traditionally, academics were seen as the only option that could develop livelihoods therefore it is important that they change that narrative as sports, arts and culture also have a huge potential to play that role.
“We are excited to hand P300 000 to both BONA and Branch, the contribution would assist in burdens that they might be facing and we hope that it would take them a long way,” she said.
In her remarks, BONA President Malebo Raditladi-Nkgakile appreciated Lucara for its support noting that the funds will assist them to keep their athletes in the field of play. Nkgakile appreciated that the sponsorship will help them in running league games which are very important because without them the athletes would not have any platform to develop their talent better.
She stated that through the continued support from Lucara they saw team Botswana performing well at Asia Cup last year and moving to position seven in the World Netball Rankings.
“You are presenting this cheque while we are in a dilemma to finding ways to assist African Netball to host the Africa Netball Cup in Botswana and to date we are still struggling to find ways to pay the University of Botswana to host the event. The request to host the event came at a bad time where both of us as BNSC and BONA don’t have anything to assist with,” she said.
She indicated that the Africa Netball Cup was supposed to be hosted by Uganda but it turned out that the country is unable to do so, and the Africa Netball delegation then pleaded with the leadership of sports in Botswana and BONA to assist by hosting the event.
She that on its on is an advantage for them because if the competition will be hosted elsewhere because team Botswana will not be able to take part in it subsequently leading to a drop in both the African and World Rankings. Nkgakile has therefore pleaded with different stakeholders to assist BONA and BNSC to see that dream come true.
For his part, local biker Ross Branch also thanked Lucara for its continued partnership with him indicating that the sponsorship is important to his career.
“In 2022 we got together and made a partnership with Lucara Botswana and it helped so much. Growing up in Jwaneng as a three-year old boy I had a dream to participate and represent my country at Dakar Rally Racing and in 2022 I was able to do that and just last week we finally managed to finish with the fourth overall in the World Rankings so without your contributing this would have not been possible,” he said.