The Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) may be the first casualty of the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) budget curb. The BNSC recently confirmed that its budget from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development is constrained. This week the BoBA president Thato Patlakwe confirmed that for the first time ever, Botswana will not be represented at this year’s 2017 Zone 4 Competitions to be held in Angola next month.
Botswana boxing team, also regional champions of the 2016 Zone 4 competitions were forced to pull out of the race due to lack of funds. Patlakwe told this publication in a brief interview this week that Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) wrote a letter to BoBA this month, informing them that the commission is currently financially constrained.
He said BNSC told them that it has not yet received funding from the ministry and is currently in an impossible situation of not being able to assist sport codes with funding. “There is nothing we can do, we all rely on the government to assist us and if they tell us that their coffers are currently dry, we have to accept,” conceded Patlakwe.
He explained that they are least worried because Botswana is currently the powerhouse of the Zone 4 competitions and he is confident that the team was going to defend the championship title. BoBA has since drawn a new programme to start focusing on the Africa Championships to be held in Congo from May 25 to June 6, 2017. Patlakwe explained that they will be going into extensive training programme and hopefully have an international training camp before the championships.
Ahead of the World Championships scheduled for August, he said BoBA wants to secure medals at the World Championships and strongly assured that they will make their presence felt.
Reached for comment, BoBA Sports Development Officer Healer Modiradilo expressed disappointment at the turn of events. “This will affect us badly, it is through the Zone 4 competitions that we get to check athletes’ performances and we use it as base to identify athletes who will represent the country at the Africa and world Championships,” he said.
However, he was quick to note that they shall utilise the available period to put together a formidable team that will effectively compete at the Africa Championships. This will be the first time that Botswana Boxing team fails to compete at the Zone 4 Championships.
Team Botswana has always done well in the tournament with sensational Zibani Chikanda scooping the honour of best boxer of the tournament last year. In a recent interview with Guardian Sports, BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo said that their grant from government has been cut by over P2 million and has forced them to cut funds to affiliates.
Sedimo said the government pays out the grant quarterly and each disbursement is credited after accounting for the previous quarter grant. The reduction in subvention has adversely affected different codes.