Umpires went on strike, referees were not paid their allowances on time, matches started very late and games schedule were constantly changed without adequate communication; these are some of the blots that stole the shine from the 2018 Confederations of Universities, Colleges Sports Association (CUCSA) Games.
The Games organising body, Botswana Tertiary Student Sports Association (BOTESSA) public relations officer, Duncan Segabo who said the officials acted in a very unprofessional and dishonest way.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard Sport, Segabo said umpires and referees had been assured that they would be paid their allowances before the games.
He also said there was communication breakdown from some of the umpire and referees conveners who did not relay the message to the BOTESSA management that some of the officials are not paid.
“The umpires reasoned that Botswana National Sports Commission – where the money was coming from -could not be trusted to deliver and pay the officials on time,” says Segabo.
He said the P3 million sponsorship money from First National Bank (FNB) was deposited into BNSC accounts and disbursed from there.
“It was a process to access the money and it was difficult to pay for urgent needs that occurred during the games,” he says.
He disclosed that the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president was called to address the netball umpires but the umpires failed to express their concerns. Segabo suggested that in future they needed to work hand in hand with officials to address all key issues that might end up embarrassing the nation.
The umpires’ strike led to some of the matches starting very late. “I blame our officials for the late start of the matches that led to the games schedule changing without notifying other key stakeholders,” says Segabo.
However, the local organizing Chairperson, Fish Palinga said the objective was to showcase Botswana’s capability to bring students together in the region. “The games achieved our theme of #OnenessThroughSport. It also marketed the country not only for tourism but for its embodiment of a peaceful nation,” says Pabalinga.
“The games were well attended by Batswana especially the opening ceremony. The political leadership and the heads of diplomatic missions graced the event which is also the thing that made the games exceptional,” says Pabalinga.
“We experienced financial constrains, it took long to secure sponsors to meet our budget, however we ended being successful and the money was availed through different sponsors,” said Pabalinga.