The Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) has launched its 2018 Youth Sports Tournament sponsored by Med Plus Medical Centre at the tune of P22 000 at the Church’s Tlokweng premises recently.
Officiating at the event, the Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Dikgang Makgalemele gave AFM church a pat on the shoulder, saying sport helps strengthen relations in and outside the church.
Makgalemele applauded the AFM youth sport initiative saying it will not only keep youngsters busy but will also assist them to be healthy. More to that, he said companies such as Med Plus deserve special appreciation as they help in grooming future sports stars through such sponsorships.
Med Plus board chairperson, Oatlhokwa Nkomazana said they are in their fifth year in partnership with AFM youth tournament and the intention is to keep assisting on an annual basis. She revealed that coming into 2018, they have increased the sponsorship with close to P 8000 since the partnership.
Nkomazana said with funds permitting, they will also like to include the elders’ category although at the moment they are impressed by the response of the AFM youth. “We have witnessed immense growth of the tournament and have also seen the level of professionalism during the games. There is an increase in the number of sporting codes participating and we desire to see every young person reaching their full potential,” she said.
Still at the event, the tournament organising committee chairperson, Gaolatlhe Medupe revealed that the games will be played on the 4th of August and codes that will be participating include Volleyball, Netball, Football and Basketball.
Medupe noted that participating teams include the Molepolole, Block 7, Mogoditshane and the host, Tlokweng branch. He said they are currently constrained and efforts made to engage other branches have not been fruitful.
Medupe said the sponsorship will be used to prepare for the games by the participating teams. They will cover transport and catering expenses as well as buying trophies and medals.
Nevertheless, he pleaded with the community saying they need all the assistance they can get, “We pay officials from Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Volleyball Association (BVF) to officiate during games. It also does not help that the stadiums rented cost an arm and a leg and we have to dig deep into our pockets,” 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.