The Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Solly Reikeletseng says that the time has come for BNSC to consider returning management of stadiums to government.Addressing National Sport Associations (NSA) at the BNSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week in Gaborone, Reikeletseng revealed that the management and maintenance of the stadia has depleted the BNSC resources.
He said the expenditure of the stadia goes up to 8 million on an annual basis, however they are granted only half of the amount to do the job.Reikeletseng added that sport funding is always not enough and now is their responsibility to explore other options to ensure that they do as much with what they have.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Region 5 Youth Games Gaborone 2018 scheduled for next month, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) General Manager, Steve Bothasitse informed BG Sport recently that they will spend about P1, 8 million resurfacing the track at the facilities. The stadiums maintenance is currently ongoing as the games fast approach.
For his part, Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) president Joshua Gaothobogwe said that supporters tend to relieve themselves on the stands during premier league games. “It is an unhealthy site that side and if only measures can be reinforced such would not happen,” Gaotlhobogwe said.
The BISA president noted that BNSC has to hold accountable all and reinforce security measures so that they can be on high alert of those that vandalize the stadia. In other matters, BNSC recorded a healthy financial bill with the independent auditor’s report, suggesting that the annual financial statements gave a true and fair view of the financial position of the BNSC.
The report also suggests that the commission has kept proper books of account from their own examination. Also the commission’s statement of financial position, profit and loss is in agreement with the books of account.
The President of Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) Mmetla Masire has expressed concern that it appears Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) is dragging its feet on the 2018 Sport Pitso resolutions made early this year in Palapye. Masire voiced his concerns when reacting to Solly Reikeletseng, the BNSC chairman’s remarks during the BNSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Gaborone this week.
“You make reference to the Sports Pitso that was held in Palapye, it is very painful when I hear you make reference to that event given the fact that we took it very seriously, however it’s beginning to transpire that maybe the meeting was not so serious, all is silent on the outcomes,” he said.
Masire recalled that the BNSC pushed National Sports Associations around demanding recommendations upon return and they also put in a great effort also, to deliver what was expected of them and worked long extra hours.
The BCA president shared that what saddened him to the core was that the Pitso was even attended by the Minister of Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng, that to him was indeed a sign that they had gathered at the meeting for serious things that needed immediate attention, however they have received nothing to this end and it was worrisome.
Some of the resolutions made at the Sports Pitso meeting were the need to rehabilitate the athletes’ village in block nine. The village used mainly by athletes when in national team call up was reported not habitable with the septic tanks said to be an eyesore, old furniture and torn electric wiring and the fire extinguishers that have not been functioning since 2015.
BNSC was also to prioritize funding for people living with disabilities and improve their support services and also make proposal to government to allocate a quota of proceeds of alcohol levy to funding the sport.
When responding to the matter, Reikeletseng noted that they be given time to continue working on the resolutions saying that some proved a bit challenging to achieve, “The difficulty was how they were structured and how to resolve their funding aspect. I believe for now what we can do is to revise each and try to find how best to approach them,” Reikeletseng said.
In other matters, Reikeletseng has advised leaders of different sporting codes to take control of their associations, saying the local sport is under siege. He said they should be firm in their decision making because they have all the powers and that, the BNSC will be there to protect them.
The 37th Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Annual Sports Awards nominees were announced in Gaborone this week.
Addressing members of the media and stakeholders this week, the BNSC chairman Solly Reikeletseng said the glitzy and glamour award ceremony scheduled for Gaborone will be held in two weeks time. The sports person of the year category is arguably one of the biggest awards of the glamorous night. The nominees include 800m runner Nijel Amos, African Karate champion Ofentse Bakwadi and chess player Thuso Mosutha. However Amos’ year has been riddled with injuries and disappointments.
The 800m runner does not have much to write home about since winning Botswana’s only Olympic medal. Another sports person of the year nominee being, Thuso Mosutha surprised everyone last year after unseating Providence Oatlhotse to book himself a place at the 2016 World Chess Olympiad in Baku, where he qualified as a Candidate Master.
Botswana’s karate sensation Ofentse Bakwadi comes as favourite to scoop the 2017 sports man of the year award following a stellar year at the international stage. Bakwadi brought home two gold medals from the World Championships in Australia. Bakwadi has also made it into the World Karate Federation rankings after brilliant performances in international stages like Dubai in the UAE.
Meanwhile local sports enthusiasts will be surprised to learn that world 200m and 400m runner Isaac Makwala does not feature in the Sports person of the year nomination list. The award has been eluding Makwala over the past few years due to inconsistencies. The key interest at the awards usually is the sports person of the year who happens to be the overall winner. The sports person is usually contested by the sports man and the sports woman of the year. Junior Female Sports Person of the year usually attracts athletes from the Botswana Chess Federation, Botswana Tennis Association and athletics. BCF hosts more youth competitions than most other codes. Besa Masaiti is not a surprise in this category though she did not win anything internationally even though she improved her FIDE ranking.
Tennis protégé Tshegofatso Tsiang who is based at a high performance centre in South Africa is another candidate even though her achievements at the international stage are a bit vague. Another dark horse in the junior women’s category is Galefele Moroko who rose to prominence as one of the few promising athletes at BISA competitions a few years ago. However, the young athlete has also not won any major competition.
The junior male sports person of the year is the only category contested by athletes who competed at the Olympics. Gavin Mogopa is the first Judoka to represent Botswana at the Olympics last year in Rio even though he made it as far as preliminary stages. Karate happens to be one of the most consistent sport codes and thus far and Thabang Setshego comes as no surprise.
Setshego will be a favourite to walk away with the award. Another likely winner is Karabo Sibanda who managed to beat teammate Baboloki Thebe for the nomination. Sibanda’s record at junior and senior level is impressive after finishing 5th in 400m at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sibanda was ranked 2nd fastest Junior 400m in the world in 2016. The sport code of the year is one of the toughest competitions with Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). BCA has one of the best strategies in the land. BCF is one of the few codes to have retained sponsors over the years while the BAA remains one of the high performing codes in the field of play even though administratively it leaves a lot to be desired. The coach of the year category nominees is Peter Molefhe (Karate), Mogomotsi Otsetswe (Athletics) and Thebe Setlalekgosi (Boxing). The umpire/referee of the year nominees are Edgar Serole (volleyball). Joshua Bondo continues to fly the flag on behalf of the poor performing football team. Gaone Poane of tennis is also nominated. The contest is possibly between Serole and Bondo. The group code of the year pits BOTESSA against BOPSSA. The awards organiser included the category for athletes living with disability since last year. Kedumetse John - Special Olympics and Goitseone Ramontshonyane - Special Olympics contest for this category.
The male sport person with disability Keatlaretse Mabote of PASSOBO and Brightfield Shadi from Special Olympics
The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) is in the running to host a continental championship in the next two years. BOKA who are continental and regional powerhouses recently expressed interest in hosting either the senior or junior Africa championships in a year or two. The newly-elected BOKA executive committee led by Tshepo Bathai seems to be wasting no time in pulling affiliates together and contesting to host an international event.
BOKA has already received an invite from the Union of African Karate Federation (UAKF) Secretary General Emmanuel Wakam to host the upcoming African Karate Championship for 2018/2019 and 2020. The next hosts for both events will be announced during the UFAK 2017 congress in June in Cameroon.
The invitations are for the African seniors and juniors for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 championships. The Botswana National Sports Commission chairman Solly Reikeletseng recently encouraged local associations to bid for regional, continental and international competitions whenever chances arise.
“As BOKA we are interested in bidding for one of the championships. We will, however be able to say which one after consulting our affiliates including the BNSC and other stakeholders,” said Bathai this past week. South Africa and Botswana are the only regional members to have hosted the competitions in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Currently the BOKA top brass is consulting stakeholders before putting together a comprehensive bid to the continental body. The bidding associations should have full support from their respective governments.
BOKA benefitted immensely from the 2014 Africa Youth Games hosted in Gaborone and the 2002 championship. The hosting country can field more athletes and officials during the competition and also enjoys opportunities to train local officials and improve local facilities.
‘BDP should find somebody else since I have lost interest in political office’
The Chairperson of Botswana National Sports Commission Solly Reikeletseng who was tipped to represent Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in Francistown South constituency in the next general election has informed this publication that he has lost interest in political office citing personal reasons.
Reikeletseng was recruited by BDP to help capture the constituency from Wynter Mmolotsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Asked about this, Reikeletseng said that he is not afraid of the truth and disclosed that he was once approached by some BDP big guns to represent them in the 2019 general election.
“Seriously speaking when I was initially approached by some BDP bigwigs, I was seriously interested as I went on to accept the offer. I am one person who likes to tell the truth. I have reconsidered their offer and as things stand, I have lost interest in political office for now and BDP should find a better candidate to represent them in Francistown South. Concerning the 2019 general election, I am out of the race, but I cannot rule out the possibility of rejoining politics in the future,” he said.
When pressed to give reasons as to why he has suddenly decided to withdraw from the race before BDP’s primary elections, Reikeletseng declined to say anything save that his reasons are purely personal. He withdraws from Francistown South BDP Parliamentary race at a time when other candidates eyeing the constituency are engaged in vigorous unsanctioned campaigns to snatch the constituency from UDC.
The incumbent Mmolotsi representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under the UDC brought down Francistown City Mayor Sylvia Muzila with a thud in the past general election as he garnered 5261 votes against Muzila’s 3289. Botswana Congress Party (BCP) candidate Vain Mamela garnered 1511 votes.
With BCP in the UDC, it will certainly be a steep climb for the BDP candidate to wrestle the constituency, so it seems.
On the backdrop of what sports minister Thapelo Olopeng and Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) chairperson Solly Reikeletseng said on Monday this week, it has emerged that national sports federations do not use the All Africa Games for qualification of their athletes and teams for the Olympic Games.
At the Monday press briefing held at the sports ministry headquarters on Monday, Olopeng and Reikeletseng dismissed as untrue that the continental games were not found attractive by top African sports stars because they give no qualification passage towards the world’s most prestigious sport festival. However, the defensive duo cited Athletics, Table Tennis, Basketball, Paralympic sport and boxing as sporting disciplines through which African sportspersons can gain Olympic Games qualification from the All Africa Games.
But some sports administrators involved at the helm of the quoted disciplines both locally and across the borders said while that may be true, they have not in the past had their athletes and teams qualify from the Africa Games. A national federation official in Kenya, a country that usually sends more numbers to the Olympics more than other African countries, revealed that by the time the All Africa Games arrive, most of their sports stars would have already qualified for the Olympics. “As I say this now, most of our athletics stars have already gained qualification for Rio, hence most have opted not to be included in Team Kenya for the games in Congo,” the Kenyan sports administrator told BG Sport via a Facebook inbox interview this week.
He further confirmed that their IAAF World Championships gold medallists were among the Kenyan stars who did not grace the event. “Kenya had seven gold medallists in China and they have opted out of the African Games. (David) Rudisha is not there for the 800m, our Javelin world champion Julius Yego is not there and all the others. But they will be at the Olympics,” he added.
He explained that in their understanding, it is the African and international sports federations that determine Olympic qualifiers through their numerous sanctioned competitions, and that the All Africa Games have not been that significant in their quest to qualify their teams and athletes. This, the sports ministry’s policy analyst Falcon Sedimo also mentioned on Monday, although for him it was as a rebuttal to the notion that only the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) was the only body that can offer qualification to the Olympics.
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president Glody Dube also argued that the All Africa Games were of little significance in terms of qualification of their athletes for the Olympics. Dube, who has also reached the Olympic finals as an athlete, said the BAA only looks at the athletes with the best times to determine their passage to the Olympic Games. He added that winning races at the African games is not a guarantee for qualification especially if they go on to post poor times afterwards. “Only the best athletes who will satisfy the association with impressive times are selected for the Olympic games,” he said.
The minister had also mentioned that Basketball at the All Africa Games was used as an Olympic qualifier, but authorities at the sport code sang a different tune. Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) spokesperson Tumelo Boima said the Games do not act as Olympic qualifiers. He instead said qualification can only be gained by competing at continental competitions like the Afro Basketball, which are played under the African Basketball Federation. Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) president Dr Thato Patlakwe also differed with his sport superiors on boxing at the All Africa Games being used as an Olympic qualifier. “They are totally not Olympic qualifiers. We have two Olympic qualifiers including the Boxing World Champions that will be held in Qatar in October. Two of our boxers Kagiso Bagwasi and Zibani Chikanda have already qualified for the World Championships where they can qualify, not at the All Africa Games.” Patlakwe added that they have another chance to qualify for the Olympics at the African Boxing Championships that take place early next year in Cameroon.
Last week this publication questioned the significance of the All Africa Games in the current format and organisation in as far as qualification for the Olympic Games is concerned. The argument revolved around the reason why most African stars always shun the games and thus render the quality of competition poor. Most athletes and sports administrators have cited that among other anomalies regarding the games, they were not Olympic qualifiers and thus they saw no reason to strut and fret at the games. However, minister Olopeng, supported by Reikeletseng and Sedimo this Monday dismissed talk that the games are not Olympic qualifiers, citing Athletics, Basketball and Boxing as examples of codes that use the continental games as qualifiers. Reikeletseng went on to describe as “a myth,” the talk that top African athletes do not take the games seriously.
The BNSC chairman cited South African swimmer Chad le Clos, Nijel Amos and Isaac Makwala as examples of top African athletes who are there at the moment. Amos had to compete in his race with unknown competitors this week as there was no Ethiopian Mohammed Aman and Kenya’s Rudisha, the Africans that have always given him competition. Similarly, Makwala had a field day beating other unknown opponents in a race that had not South African Wayde van Niekerk, the current world 400m champion.
The Botswana sports landscape is about to undergo a seismic shift when the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) will entirely take over the major international competition and elite athletes, leaving the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to focus on development.
These developments are expected to take off after the imminent 2015 All Africa Games (AGG) scheduled for September 3 to 10. Then, the African Ministers of Sport and their counterparts from Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding. This understanding will eventually give birth to a new form of AAG, which will all round serve as an Olympic qualifiers.
Speaking to BG Sport this week, the Chief Executive Officer of the BNOC, Tuelo Serufho said the current arrangement will see AAG being held under the auspices of the African Union as opposed to being run by the Olympic movement, as is the case in other countries. Serufho explained that currently the BNOC sends athletes to international competitions like the Olympics, Youth Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Youth Commonwealth Games. “On the other hand the BNSC sends athletes to the AAG and the Zone V (AUSC) Games. After the AAG, ANOCA will deliver the games just like in other countries in the Olympic movement,” he said. Serufho added that the Zone V games would also follow the AAG under ANOCA, as the two are under one category. “This means that then, the BNSC will now focus on grass roots development and the roles of both the latter and the BNOC will be streamlined.”
Moreover, Serufho said he expected the transition to be smooth once an agreement has been sealed. “We will need to beef up our capacity to take on the new roles,” he said. According to Serufho, ball sports teams will have a chance to qualify for the Olympics when the deal is struck. Previously, he explained that timed sports like swimming and athletics benefitted from the games. “Indeed the transition is long overdue. The current set up, while beneficial, in some respects, has been disadvantageous in many others.
In the past two different teams of the same age group have had to be assembled at the same time in an attempt to qualify for two different competitions, an undertaking that has proved to be costly.”
Meanwhile, the 11th All Africa Games slated for Brazzaville, Congo will expect 5000 athletes from 53 countries including the likes of 2012 silver Olympic Medallist Nijel Amos, South African Olympic medallist Chad le Clos and Commonwealth Games champion runner Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria. Reached for comment on the matter, the BNSC chairman Solly Reikeletseng denied any knowledge on the matter, adding that he is yet to be briefed on the impending developments.