Three years after their self-imposed exile from the sports, the Botswana Integrated Sports Associations (BISA) will be back in the mix this year hungrier than ever to prove they are still a power in the region.
The association, which is pivotal to the development of sports from the grassroots, is busy preparing a team to represent the country at both the regional and international games.
Speaking in an interview, BISA’s Public Relations Officer, Tebo Segaise, said that the association will be sending a strong team of 54 athletes to represent the country at the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) games, which will be hosted by Zimbabwe from the 2nd to the 3rd of May next month.
Despite non participation in the past three years, Segaise is positive that the team they will send to the games will be very competitive and will do the country proud.
“While our non participation did some harm, I can also say that it has also brought in something positive as well. It has brought out a lot of hunger to succeed from our members and this was evident during the national finals we had. The standards of competition were very high and a lot of quality athletes came to the fore. We are positive that when next year’s Africa youth games kick off, there is a very likelihood that some of the emerging household names in local athletics will be from this year’s crop of BISA athletes,” Segaise explained. “This year’s team will be a completely new team with new athletes,” she continued. “From this team, we expect to then select a team that will represent Botswana at the International School Sport Federation (ISF) Athletic Cup games which will be held June in Czech Republic,” Segaise said.
She added that from the 54 athletes that will make the country’s COSSASA team, only 24 athletes under the age of 18 will be selected to represent the country when it makes its debut at the ISF athletic cup. With the country preparing to host the 2nd Edition of the Africa Youth Games (AYG) next year, the re-entry of BISA into active sport is expected to give the country a boost as it prepares to put together a strong team to represent it at the games.
She is of the view that the COSSASA games as well as the ISF games will give Batswana an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the future of Botswana sports. Meanwhile, Segaise said they have pooled together a team of talented and qualified coaches to guide the team with every event having a specific coach to oversee it.
“What we have done is we have looked at the performances of each and every school and analysed which event it has performed well at. Based on this analysis, we then selected coaches as according to the performances of their athletes in the said event. That way, we made sure we select coaches based on their abilities to coach the specific event they are expected to coach,” she explained.
To ensure that the young athletes get the best of training and exposure, Segaise said they are working hand in hand with the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), who, besides monitoring also provide and train their coaches. The Botswana team for the COSSASA games is expected to be recalled back into camp on the 26th of this month before leaving for Zimbabwe.