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P400K injection bolsters BISA

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NUTURING SPORTS DEVELOPMENT…JB Sports show generosity to BISA Source:The Midweek Sun

Local retail company JB Sports has sponsored Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) with sporting equipment worth P400 000. The sponsorship was launched in Gaborone this past Tuesday.

Speaking at the launch, JB Sports Chief Executive Officer, Rajesh Nair said the sponsorship is for a period spanning 12 months and they will consider renewing it next year. Nair said JB Sports is committed to developing sport in Botswana especially from grassroots level. From the sponsorship, he noted that P 250 000 will be dedicated to Zonal events. “My hope is that BISA events in 2018 will be a success and we will continue assisting whenever possible,” he said.

The retail chain store company has previously partnered with Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and its affiliates, one of them being Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF). Nair said they want to align with the BISA vision of unearthing talent from schools. For his part, BISA president Joshua Gaotlhobogwe said they intend to work hand in hand with JB Sports to push the BISA mandate forward. He said they are grateful for government funding, however it has remained a challenge for BISA to fully roll out its plans for secondary school sports development.

Gaotlhobogwe revealed that BISA needs a budget of nearly 10 million annually, but only receive P1 million from the Ministry of Education. In addition, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) assists with P400 000, with that, they are forced to cut down on their plans in order to fit activities within the budget.

Gaotlhobogwe explained that BISA organises national competitions for 12 different codes and also participates in regional and international events.
“We always have to go back and request for more in order to cover all our activities. Even though we have managed to successfully host some events, the signs are for all to see that soon we will be unable to continue with the trends. The ministry appears to be experiencing challenges hence we need partners like JB Sports,” Gaotlhobogwe said.

Furthermore, the BISA President pleaded with the private sector to continue supporting local sport saying the contribution relieves the government the huge burden of mothering all sporting associations.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Basic Education, Simon Coles said sport plays a significant role in developing not only athletes but the country as well. He said the financial struggle cuts across all codes, however the government has limited resources and is often unable to offer the desired support.

“We know that we always receive the lion’s share from government, however we are also the biggest employer. About 80 percent of the finance goes to remuneration and salaries,” Coles said.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.

Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.

“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.

Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.

“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.

Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year  for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having  already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.

“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.

Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe.  No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.

Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.

However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry  of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”

Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.

However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.

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