In a bid to resuscitate the fledgling fortunes of the sport of Bridge in the country, the Botswana Bridge Federation has come up with a plan to introduce the sport in primary schools.
The plan, which is part of the Federation’s strategic plan to develop the sport from the grassroots, is expected to kick off this month (October). Speaking in an interview, the Federation’s Public Relations Officer, Tshepiso Ramaribana, said even though no exact date has been set as to when in October the new grassroots development plan will be launched.
He added that the launch of the plan will definitely still be this month. “We are still fine tuning the final details of the way and method the sport will be introduced. At this moment, the sport will first be introduced in private primary schools as the environment in public schools is not yet conducive due to the teachers and employers’ impasse,” Ramaribana said. “This however does not mean the public schools will be left behind; there are teachers in some of these public primary schools who have been trained in the sport and have promised to go ahead and teach young kids the game despite the current teachers versus employers’ standoff,” the BBF PRO added.
She further explained that as per their grassroots development strategic plan, the Bridge Federation will be targeting to roll out the development plan across the country.
On the benefits of the sport to kids, Ramaribana said bridge, as a mind sport, can teach kids how to think quickly to solve problems. She says it also teaches people to work with what they have to win.
“In this sport, for every deck of cards given to you, you are expected to play in seven minutes and thus you need to think fast. Bridge is also a team sport that can help develop kids to work in teams. In this sport, you are expected to work with a partner and if he loses, you lose. He wins, you win as well. So players are expected to work with each other to win,” she explained.
To ensure the success of the grassroots development plan, Ramaribana says the Federation has started developing coaches to take over the training of kids.
“During the past weekend, we held a two day coaches and tournament directors’ workshop in Mahalapye. This workshop was targeted at people who are new to the sport and those who used to play but have quit playing due to various reasons. It was an introduction course aimed at those new to the sport while it was also a refresher course for those who used to play and would like to get involved back in the sport,” Ramaribana explained.
She added that the course covered all the basics of the sport that the new trainees will need to teach the sport to kids as well as to direct tournaments.
She says in the near future, they will take the same people for another workshop to further develop them to be qualified coaches.
Meanwhile, Ramaribana says the BBF will also be looking to establish community clubs across the country to ensure that they do not lose players. She says currently, their only active clubs are mostly in Gaborone and they do not have any others across the country. As a result, players who move out of Gaborone to other areas get lost to the sport and this is the reason why the sport has not grown over the years.