By Anita Rannoba
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president Tshepo Bathai has vowed not to easily give up in his quest to see his association host the UFAK Africa Karate Champions.
The association has struggled to convince the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to allow them to host Africa’s flagship Karate tournament despite what they believe was an initial consent from the BNSC to host.
Despite all the challenges, which have also at some point put him on a collision course with the powers that be, Bathai has vowed to stay the course and kick his way to success.
Drawing from the 2014 experience when he was forced to quit his position as the BOKA president, Bathai, who described the current challenges as ‘a walk in the park,’ seems to have grown a thicker skin.
Where he could have opted to throw in the towel and walk away a couple of years ago, the BOKA president is now a willing fighter.
“I am now used to challenges and this time around I will not quit or resign. We are almost at the finish line with 90% of the talks completed and we are just waiting on the agreement letter from the BNSC,” he confidently said.
Bathai explained that initially, BOKA was expecting a response before the beginning of 2019 but the response was delayed due to business closure in December.
While they were turned down a couple of months ago, Bathai said after holding several meetings with the BNSC and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) management, they now seem to have made a headway.
“I believe we are on the same page that we should host, we are just waiting for the official letter from BNSC as the main delay is on how both parties will be assisting us towards the cost of host,” he said.
Although BNSC had cancelled visas for the UFAK inspection team and halted them from traveling into the country, they have once again allowed the team to come and asses the progress and an onsite visit.
“The UFAK team is expected in Botswana in February,” said Bathai.
The team expected to come to Botswana are Vice President of UFAK and World Karate Federation, Bechir Cherif, he will be accompanied by Arab Yaccine, Chairman of UFAK Organizing Committee
In conclusion Bathai said they will put to use every resource they have to make the Championships a success.