Global soft drinks giant Coca Cola has sponsored the 2018 COPA Coca Cola soccer tournament at a whopping P800 000. The sponsorship announced this week in Radisele village is mainly for procurement of soccer equipment such as balls and kits for players.
Speaking at the launch, the Assistant Minister of Basic Education Thato Kwerepe said the government remains the primary supporter of sports in schools, however efforts from private entities like Coca Cola are always commendable.
Addressing stakeholders and members of the press, Kwerepe said government alone cannot develop sports in the country and applauded sport associations who go out of their way to ensure the smooth running of school sport. The minister said the partnership between BISA and Coca Cola dates back to 2014 and the soft drinks company has since splashed over P3 million on the soccer tournament.
Kwerepe said the impact of the sponsorship has been felt in schools, adding that it was through the tournament that Botswana discovered renowned athletes such as Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, Thato Kebue and Gorata Mogakolodi. For her part, Coca Cola Senior Brand Manager Tamar Mbalo said the soccer tournament has made an impressive mark on the lives of thousands secondary school pupils, their families and communities throughout Botswana.
She explained that the road has been a very successful one, which they are very proud to partake in. Mbalo said the tournament has managed to produce former senior national team players Jomo Bolofete and Noah Kareng who are now grooming young footballers locally. Furthermore, she explained that through the COPA Coca Cola tournament, they have been sowing seeds of football everywhere for the good of all. In addition, Mbalo said participants of the tournament have a chance to play in regional tournaments pencilled for later this year. “This development will see youth sharing experiences and bridging the gap between those in different countries and continents.
We continue to be proud sponsors of this initiative which is a long-term investment in our youth and the future,” she said.Speaking during the same occasion, BISA president Joshua Gaothobogwe said they organise competitions for 12 sport codes, with that they need all the support they can possibly get. Gaothobogwe mentioned that currently BISA activities are 100 percent funded by the Ministry.” The BISA annual budget hovers around P10 million however we only get around P1 million from the ministry, this means most of our activities suffer,” he said.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
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.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
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.