The raging and protracted war over athletes between the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) was reignited this week when the former’s leadership accused the latter of controlling athletes.
During the BNOC Annual General Assembly (AGA) held in Gaborone, firebrand BAA president Moses Bantsi accused the national Olympic body of taking over the administration of athletes instead of acting just as facilitators. Following an address on good governance by BNOC president Negroes Kgosietsile, Bantsi said the Olympic committee should follow the example they are preaching that the affairs of athletes should be left to their own sport codes.
“We thought the BNOC were just a facilitator only to find that they have become administrators for our athletes. This is painful because even just before the IAAF Championships in China earlier this year, we advised our coach to present us with a program for the Olympics; we were taken aback that when he did, the programe came present on a BNOC letterhead,” he said, adding that this trend had led to athletes undermining the BAA.
More complications have been added from this working arrangement, Bantsi said, because now they do not even receive important reports they look for from the coaches. A seemingly frustrated Bantsi however praised the BNOC for doing a sterling job in laying the foundation for sports development but cautioned the sport body against creating problems at the same time.
In response, the BNOC president advised similarly disgruntled affiliates to rather approach him directly in time whenever they feel hard done by the secretariat’s dealings instead of letting things drag on for long without his knowledge. He aaded, “Such issues do not have to wait for a general assembly. We will engage you to see what the problem is. If you keep such issues to yourselves and wait for such forums to air your grievances, it is your associations that will suffer more and more.”
Meanwhile, BNOC Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho conceded that he did not have any defence for the issues raised by the BAA. “We will go back through these issues together and see how we move forward from here,” he said.