Following the Bonnita Youth Cup that was held in Gaborone at Lekidi Football Centre over the weekend, a total of 14 young football players from Nhabe Region have since been selected for the Centre of Sport Excellence (CSE).
The selected players include two Under 15 girls, eight Under 17 girls, two Under 15 boys and other two Under 14 boys.
These young players were amongst the 27 players from Okavango and Maun who were selected to represent the Northern block team at the Youth Cup. The Northern block team was also made up of selected players from Boteti, Francistown and Chobe regions.
Bonnita Youth Cup is a national football tournament for boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17. The cup is meant to identify young talent and also a platform for kids to showcase their talent.
The Northern block took position one in the Under 15 Boys category and won trophy and gold medals, and five players from the team and a Coach were from Nhabe Region. The Nhabe region was also represented by five players in the Northern Block Under 17 Boys team that took position three.
The Northern block Under 17 Girls also got position three and Nhabe region had 10 players in that team. Seven players from Nhabe Region also formed part of the Northern team Under 15 girls that got position three. A young player from Nhabe region who was in the Northern team Under 17 Girls won the Goalkeeper of the tournament award.
In an interview, Nhabe Regional Football Association Vice Secretary Tebogo Mogaetsho said that the 14 players from Nhabe region will have an opportunity to be placed in the Centre of Sport of Excellence where they will be trained and be closely monitored
Mogaetsho said that the selected will also have an opportunity to be part of national football team structures and there will be a program by Botswana Football Association (BFA) to assess the progress in terms of the way they are monitored and trained. The training will be conducted by regional coaches.
Mogaetsho is of the view that there is growth in youth football in Nhabe region taking into consideration the number of players selected for the Bonnita Youth Cup. He stated that in the years 2022 and 2023 they hosted the youth games in the Nhabe region and they realised that there has been an increase in the number of teams from Gumare, Shakawe and Maun streams.
Mogaetsho noted that the availability of the BFA grassroots centres in Maun and Shakawe also played a significant role in the development of young players as the program had attracted many talented youth.