Leading sports in Botswana is very challenging. One has to handle competing interests with each fighting for prominence. It is the knack of management brilliance to bring a balance to these interests and provide inspirational leadership. This is what is expected of the heavyweights at the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC). The minister of Youth, Sports and Culture provides the political leadership that these bodies depend on. The buck stops with him (Shaw Kgathi) in many instances. When money is required, and parliament has to step in and make a special consideration, it is to him that all look to.
One only hopes that 2013 would see improved visionary leadership in a greater part of sport development. The BNSC chairperson Solly Reikeletseng, having done reasonably well so far in leading sport, ought to take it to a new higher level.
Delivery at the council secretariat must not be compromised. Codes must be made to feel appreciated and not simply bossed around by the cadres at the secretariat. The volunteers that are busy running the codes want to see their life made easier by proactive interventions from the BNSC through availing of technical and administrative support to the many activities they undertake. The BNSC CEO Percy Raditladi should as such crack the whip and ensure that his team is up to the task. The codes’ leadership should also up their game.
One critical problem that should be decisively dealt with is moving local sport into the professional ranks – to make sport a business. To have clear a policy and guidelines on professional sport, showing clearly how it differs with amateur sport is a serious priority. One cannot stand the confusion that always arises when a professional boxing tournament has to be hosted in the country. Supposed organisers have to move from pillar to post. This cannot go on like this.
The country’s sports leadership must provide the necessary platform for professional sport. I have heard that a review of the Sport Act to harmonise the activities of the BNSC, BNOC and Department of Sport and Recreation is underway and a bill is about to be debated in parliament. This is a welcome development. We cannot afford the clash of egos that have tended to define the relationship between BNSC and BNOC leadership. This new Act should settle things and ensure that sport development becomes the only priority.
While the BNSC has been more focused on sport and talent development, the BNOC’s work has had much to do with elite sport; the management and further development of the country’s top athletes to ensure that the country gets maximum value from them. However, the fact that BNOC had to draw its funds from the BNSC account has not settled well with them, preferring that government funded them directly.
It is this Act that will remove any confusion that exists. My wish is that conflicts should end and focus should squarely remain on athlete development. Negroes Kgosietsile, BNOC President and Reikeletseng should work in making this year a very successful one based on the nature of interventions they will make on the codes and athletes. Primarily, one hopes they will be progressive in approach and ensure that their affiliates equally raise the bar of performance. We have done well last year; more is needed.