Various sporting codes have expressed gratitude at the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC)’s new policy to allow them to use 10% of their annual grants towards national championships of their choice. The initiative was announced by the BNSC Chairperson Solly Reikeletseng during the council’s Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) held at Cresta Lodge, Gaborone this past Thursday. In a country where sporting codes are finding it hard to find suitors for their national championships and leagues, the policy was warmly welcomed and instantly adopted by the BNSC affiliates. Among the first codes to express gratitude at the initiative after it was announced was the Botswana Netball Association (BONA), who have also found it hard to attract sponsors for their national league.
Speaking in an interview, BONA President, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego, said the initiative was a first step in the right direction. “It is worth remembering that this 10% is relative to how much grants a certain code is getting from the BNSC. For codes that are getting small grants, this will be a small amount and unlikely to cover all costs of running a national league. However, it is befitting that we express gratitude at this initiative as it is a good start in the right direction,” Lebotse-Sebego explained. She said unlike in the past where almost all the money towards development in the grant went to the national teams’ preparations and development, the 10% towards national championships will cover player development at club level, which are the feeders to national teams.
Another code which welcomed the move was the Botswana Football Association (BFA), who said the monies will go towards assisting some of their development programmes. According to the BFA President, Tebogo Sebego, the monies will be spent in some of the BFA development initiatives while some will be allocated to the various regional leagues. With the regional leagues having no sponsors, the BFA President said the money will help regional leagues to at least run their leagues properly. Given the amount that will be garnered from the grant, the BFA President said it will only be for administration of leagues and not for prize monies.
Earlier when announcing the policy, Reikeletseng informed the BNSC affiliates that the initiative was taken to help codes put in place effective national championships to help develop players. He said there will be no dictum from the BNSC on which programmes or championships the money should be used for. He however said the money should be directed towards quality championships or programmes which can help the affiliates to produce quality athletes to feed to the national teams. He said with the realisation that various sporting codes were finding it hard to attract sponsors for various championships; the move was deliberate from the BNSC to help them run quality championships ‘of some sort.’