Thursday, June 30, 2022

Botswana Bridge suffers exodus of veterans

The Botswana Bridge Federation (BBF) has expressed concern about the exodus of veterans who have left their teams, instead of going into coaching and other technical positions, saying the situation slows down the development of the sport in the country.

BBF Coordinator, Tebogo Kubanji, said out of 750 experienced bridge players in local clubs, the sport has so far lost more than 600 veterans.

“The ever increasing number of experienced players no longer play bridge and participate in bridge related activities,” Kubanji said, adding that the veterans are complaining that though the sport was introduced in the country more than 23 years back, the federation cannot secure funds to host more sporting activities and send players to compete in international events. With local clubs participating in local tournaments only, players think bridge has few activities to keep them busy.

The Coordinator said BBF is struggling to source sponsors to host more bridge activities. The only sponsors they were able to source last year were the Chinese Embassy which sponsored the Chinese Embassy tournament to a tune of P5 000.

Another sponsor was South African David Newton who sponsored the team that was playing at the South African Congress with R20 000.

BBF President, Keneilwe Mosomodi, said it is true that the federation has very limited funds, and the situation is worsened by the fact that the federation has been operating without a publicity campaign.

Kubanji said as the veterans leave and cut ties with the sport instead of going into coaching and other technical positions, the federation is faced with the challenge of training some novices for coaching. He said, currently, the sport depends on part time coaches, a situation which stifles development of bridge players.

The BBF President said the federation is making a loss, as over the years many students have gone through financially demanding youth development program. However, only a few have joined the adult bridge teams.

The youth program is currently ranked the 2nd best in Africa behind Egypt. There used to be a number of adult tournaments organized by the federation but unfortunately most of the sponsors have withdrawn their sponsorship. On other issues, Kubanji said this year it has been a major blow for Botswana Bridge Federation as there hasn’t been development of Bridge in Secondary schools due to teachers not taking part in extra-curricular activities.

The BBF was established in 1988, and was formally registered with the Botswana National Sports Council as an affiliate in 1992.

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