The watershed Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) electoral General Assembly scheduled for 7th October is fast approaching. For the first time in history there will be five presidential candidates contesting for the plum seat left behind by Negroes Kgosietsile who has been at the BNOC for over a decade.
Former Commonwealth Amateur boxing Medalist France Mabiletsa is among the presidential candidates. Mabiletsa is expected to face five other sports industry captain Tebogo Lebotse Sebego (netball), Daniel Molaodi (volleyball), Ookeditse Malesu (karate) and incumbent BNOC vice president Botsang Tshenyego. In a wide-ranging interview with BG sport this week, Mabiletsa outlined his campaign manifesto, sports administration philosophy and unveiled his campaign team. The experienced and hardened sports administrator was both blunt and unflinching when outlining his philosophy to run the Olympic movement. “Our athletes are elite, they push themselves beyond a point where they are above us as administrators. However, I have an issue with that administrators must be above athletes, ” Mabiletsa argued, adding that this is a crucial angle at which sports administration must be approached. “Elite must match elite,” he said.
Moreover, Mabiletsa said to achieve results at top tier international competitions there was need to maintain a tentative national team. He argued that such athletes should be kept together and form a skeletal team even if changes are made to the team along the way. “This is necessary if we need to achieve medals. We need a long-term plan. If we have a skeletal team everyone will be able to focus and force national federations to plan in the long term.” Mabiletsa said he was not even sure whether the country has a national team for 2018 Commonwealth games scheduled for the Gold coast in Australia. “We should be having a plan in the next Olympic games.” However, Mabiletsa said the BNOC must be realistic when selecting codes to compete at the next Olympics. According to the presidential hopeful the sport codes like volleyball and fencing may not make it to the Olympics soon. On the dicey issue of sponsorship, the experienced chartered accountant said a different approach was necessary.
According to Mabiletsa, the BNOC might need to sponsor individual athletes if they get opportunities abroad. He gave an example of sponsoring a single football player to go for trials in Europe as this will be more affordable and such player will come back and add value to the national team during important competitions. “Football will be able to grow if there are two professionals in the team.” The former national team Boxer said there are other ways of sourcing funds from the public including the setting up of a trust. However, Mabiletsa conceded that such initiatives would not be easy.
The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) hall of fame hero said there are also other ways to train sports administrators as they participate in international competitions. There are usually training opportunities to take advantage of when administrators accompany athletes to international competitions. An example is the recent boxing championships. You might find that we are only required to pay $300.00 to attend a course. Once in office Mabiletsa said they would take full advantage of the Olympic day movement by pulling different sports codes that are usually left in the fringes. The presidential hopeful cited sport codes like yachting and cycling adding that such codes can be given exposure during the Olympic movement day. Mabiletsa’s team consists of Rampa Mosweu (First Vice President candidate), Grace Gaolaolwe (additional members candidate), Dr Lesego Sikele (additional member candidate). According to Mabiletsa’s manifesto the team consists of private sector representation, medical professionals and people with elite sport participation.