The Botswana Bridge Federation (BBF) will be sending two teams of four players each to Knysna, South Africa, to represent the country at the South African Bridge Federation’s Knysna Interclub teams’ tournament. The team, which is composed of four men and four ladies, will leave the country today (Wednesday) and is expected back home on Monday. According to Tshepiso Ramaribana, BBF’s Public Relations Officer, the tournament will start tomorrow (Thursday) and is expected to come to an end on Sunday.
She said the tournament is expected to attract at least 26 teams of four players each and a 200-boards match will be played within the four-day tournament.
Botswana will be represented by Nancy Minwilla, Diniar Minwilla, Omphemetse Moedi and Letsogile Mafa in the first team while the second team will be composed of Robyn Leming, Bonnie Coulter, Batsho Manyanda and Tshepiso Ramaribana.
Speaking in an interview, Ramaribana said the Knysna tournament will be used to try and build a national team to represent the country in upcoming international competitions.
“We are currently trying to form a national team, more especially on the ladies side where we have no team to represent us in international competitions. This tournament gives us a chance to look at our players and to get more game time,” she said.
The BBF spokes lady says the Knysna tournament will be the fourth tournament that the team will be playing in South Africa this year alone. This is in contrast to two tournaments that have been played locally, one in March and the latest this past weekend. Despite the lack of game time and tournaments locally, Ramaribana says local bridge players have shown they can effectively compete against their regional opponents.
“In the last tournament we attended in Rustenburg, we managed to come back with two trophies out of a possible four. The players who did not win trophies during the tournament still managed to get good positions in the tournament,” the BBF PRO added.
On why Botswana Bridge plays as many tournaments outside the country than they do locally, Ramaribana said lack of funds has restricted the Federation to relying on outside competitions for much needed game time.
“To host tournaments locally, we need sponsors, something which we are struggling to get. We do plan tournaments, but every time we fail to get a sponsor, we have to cancel. As for the outside tournaments, we rely on the Botswana National Sports Council competition funds which are availed to the teams to participate in tournaments outside the country,” the BBF PRO said.
She, however, said lack of a dedicated coach to take over the national teams is a concern for the Federation.
Ramaribana says despite Botswana’s youth-oriented team doing well in tournaments outside the country, lack of a coach means the team’s performance cannot improve as high as it possibly should.