Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) has confirmed that it has intervened in the internal conflicts that nearly derailed the Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA).
This is despite BSSA President Sally Leppan denying in an interview last year that there are conflicts inside the swimming body.
During the past year, the local swimming body experienced internal brawls over team selections which threatened its preparations for this year’s African Youth Games (AYG) which will be hosted here in Botswana. BSSA’s disgruntled affiliates decided to ‘take the matter up’ and this prompted intervention from the BNSC.
“We met with them as we had to understand their issue. It was just an operational lapse and we managed to intervene….the issue is now solved,” said BNSC Chairperson Solly Reikeletseng.
Reikeletseng said they are happy now that the issue has been solved. He said at this time of preparations of the Africa Youth Games “we do not need such issues.”
The intervention seems to have worked as all is now well at BSSA and preparations for African Youth Games are now fully underway and AYG final team selections are expected to be completed at the end of this month.
According to the BSSA Secretary Bongi Ruele, while the BSSA does not have final names of those who will make the team, all swimmers are now busy preparing for the games and ‘are now with their trainers, training hard.’ She said selections will be done from the crop that participated in last year’s mid December nationals.
While there were issues with selections in the past year, Ruele said the selection criteria are followed well and there are no selection conflicts. She said by February those who are in the national team will be made public.
Ruele said BSSA is now contacting international officials to help them in officiating at the games. She said their volunteers are enough and the facilities at UB pool will soon be ready for use.
Two Botswana promising swimmers Naomi Ruele and David Van Der Colff will be ahead on their preparation mode as they will be participating on South African Level 3 Championships at Cape Town on March.
About twenty Botswana young swimmers are also expected to be put on shape by South African Level 3 Championship in Kimberly.
This will be followed by the South African Nationals in April and all this competitions are expected to serve as preparations for Team Botswana.
When asked by The Telegraph whether she thinks Team Botswana is ready for Africa with only four months left, Ruele said BSSA is trying hard to make sure the team is prepared. She also told The Telegraph that she thinks the team will perform well in home soil.
“They do stand a chance to do well in these continental competitions. We are hoping they qualify for the finals and get medals,” said Ruele in an interview.