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BY PATIENCE LEPHOGOLE
The Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) says it is making inroads in as far as its “Earn your stripes” responsibility to develop athletes from an early age throughout their sports activities is concerned.
BNSC’s Development Officer Bobby Gaseitsiwe has said his office contributes immensely to the development of sports in the country through its various programs that implement its mandate. He said: “I am aware of School of excellence with 12 schools and codes being Athletics, Boxing, Karate, Football, Netball, Softball and Volleyball.”
BNSC caters for all, and for excellence and prosperity hence professional athletes are developed so they could use it as a source of living. Botswana has moved quickly to set up itself as a focused nation both on and off the field.
The country continues to make strives worldwide in international competitions. Its flag has risen against all odds in different sporting occasions.
Time and again the national flag is raised high such that it has made countrymen proud of their roots. This in a way has resulted in sheer admiration of athletes and their journey in sports leaving Batswana in wonder on how it is all done in success.
The BNC has been given the task to identify, train and develop potential athletes into better and more intelligent version that can shift to national teams.
MYSEC’s major responsibilities in its relations with BNSC include: financial support, liaising with other government Ministries and departments and above all, policy formulation for its affiliates.
Moreover, BNSC’s focus is said to be on to promote Sport within Botswana and participation of Sport outside Botswana.
BNSC has been affiliated with mobilise support from various stakeholders in the city to resuscitate different sporting codes as well as reaching out to young ones.
Gaseitsiwe has noted there is ‘Re Ba Bona Ha’ program, which is a skills development programme managed by the BNSC. It seeks to introduce sports to children throughout Botswana. “The programme targets youths aged 5 to 17 years both in and out of school to give them an opportunity to excel in sports, and is sponsored by Debswana at P1milliom per year with 12 codes,” he highlighted.
“We have the Zebra Athlete Fund which caters for training and welfare of selected elite athletes. It must be noted that we collaborate with BNOC in this project that those who are funded through Olympic Solidarity will not be catered under Zebra Athlete Fund,” he added.
Moreover, Gaseitsiwe added that they have a Sport Development Fund which is responsible for Out of School camps and Equipment purchase for selected projects. He said “We have Heroes Mentorship Programme which targets athletes on financial literacy and Public speaking.”
“There is Elite Scholarship Fund which caters for athletes who have finished Secondary and admitted at a College of higher learning so that they can have access to specialised training at those institutions whether locally or abroad. These athletes welfare is catered for by DTEF and their training need by BNSC,” he added.
He added that the Botswana Games, which involves U19 athletes from 16 Districts in Botswana with over 3000 participants, will be held this year.
Gaseitsiwe has praised the achievements of their developmental programs, adding that they have helped a lot of athletes develop into professionals.
“We are very happy with the outcomes of these projects as each has its own peculiar deliverables from skill development, competition exposure, Welfare, equipment and empowerment,” he added.
BNSC helps in the organisation of district sports festivals. It has been noted that the government was committed to providing an environment conducive for the development of sports and recreation. The orgainsation says that there has been acceleration in the provision of integrated sports facilities throughout the country.
Asked what challenges face the BNSC in implementing their programs, Gaseitsiwe had this to say: “The blanket challenge has been finances but we have been able to achieve a lot with less funding. Our wish is to fund more codes with more funds.”
In overcoming the challenges, Gaseitsiwe said they always engage the National Sports Associations on matters of funding hence it is always a cordial engagement.
“The codes have been cooperating as most use their funds to develop their athletes. Government and Private sector like Debswana always assist when there is any extra need,” he concluded.