The bridge saga has found its way to the corridors of the Ministry of Sports Youth and culture.
Late last year, two key members of the Bridge team that was scheduled to perform in the World Cup hosted by China, were dropped following a disciplinary hearing for allegedly making utterances that undermined other players. They then took to the media after reaching a stalemate with the Federation executive and after failing to strike common ground.
One of them, Rosa Ditirwa, admitted they questioned the competence of their team mates. “We wrote a letter to the Botswana Bridge Federation in which we complained about the selection criteria, and also questioned the inclusion of other nominated players whom we believed to be less qualified than us but were included in the team, and that was our crime,” she said.
The aggrieved members have taken the issue with the Ministry of Sports after losing patience with the Botswana National Sports Council’s Affiliates Affairs officer.
“We lodged our case with BNSC but they were dragging their feet, so we ended up deciding to write to the ministry. We have not met the minister as yet, but we managed to talk to her secretariat who promised us that the minister would look into the issue,” Ditirwa said.
The players are also questioning several issues they believe the federation is not doing well. The contents of the letter addressed to the minister, among other things, points out to financial irregularities.
According to Ditirwa, she once brought a trophy from a certain Rustenburg tournament and she should have received financial incentives as consistent with BNSC practices. Alongside, was her partner, also the Federation’s Treasurer, but it all came to nothing. She says she struggles to understand what could have happened to the incentives. The members also say, ahead of camps, they are given transport fares and revealed that there have been instances when the executive would indicate to BNSC they were traveling from as far as Maun when they were, in actual fact, traveling from as near as Gabane. They accused the federation for inconsistency.
When Ditirwa was dropped ahead of the world cup, her partner, nevertheless, went and her place was taken by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of BBF. She said she wonders why her partner was not dropped as well or the PRO himself going along with his own partner. According to the former, in bridge one cannot do without her partner and thus her partner shouldn’t have gone to China.
She revealed that she, for one, was once dropped for a tourney after her partner had cited school commitments and asked to be excused. Ditirwa complained that the people who had summoned her to the disciplinary hearing that led to her being left behind might have been creating spaces for themselves, as they too are players, something she views as a conflict of interest.
Generally, Ditirwa complained the Federation has, since the dismissal, stopped consulting them adding that they have not even been called for this year’s camp.
Contacted for comment, Kealeboga Tangane, BBF president said he it would not be proper to comment on something that has already been brought to the attention of the ministry, arguing that they will have to wait for the ministry to call them only then afterwards they can comment.