The Botswana Swimming Sport Association (BSSA) President Sally Leppan has denied that the association is involved in a brawl with its affiliates.
The BSSA president told Sunday Standard in an interview that the conflicts with disgruntled affiliates will not affect the team’s preparation for the Junior African Championships in Zambia in the next two weeks and African Youth Games next year.
“The Africa Youth Games preparations will not be affected in any way as most of our top swimmers are with their respective coaches and are continuing with a full training program,” Leppan said.
She said as far a she knows BSSA is not aware of any other conflict with its affiliates. Leppan added that BSSA is also not aware of the fight between the affiliates and the BSSA executive.
She said BSSA would welcome dialogue with those affiliates alleging conflicts. However disgruntled affiliates interviewed by Sunday Standard accused Leppan’s administration of being autocratic.
They also alleged that there was favouritism in the selection for the upcoming games.
This has also seen the Selection Committee chaired by Timothy Maje being sidelined according to sources.
“It is impossible that swimmers can be chosen on favouritism as swimmers are looked at based on merit of times and the level of said times for each event for which they are going to compete,” said Leppan.
Leppan said the national team was selected with the assistance of three independent consultants.
The team selection was forwarded to the executive for approval and was passed with a majority vote of four to one, she said.
Most parents have pulled out their children in protest. BSSA Secretary Bongi Ruele’s daughter Naomi who has been touted by many coaches as the future of the swimming sport was also removed.
“I have no comment on this matter as I would not want any situation to arise where Naomi is negatively affected in any way,” said Leppan when asked about the pull out of Naomi.
Frustrated affiliates said the Botswana National Sport Council should intervene immediately.
The Chairperson of BNSC Solly Reikeletseng said he has only seen the report of the BSSA conflict on newspapers. He said the matter has not been brought to their attention.
Reikeletseng said if the matter is brought to them they will investigate it.
“We will make sure all the parties concerned are satisfied and find an amicable solution. Our intention is to build not to punish or do anything that does not bring positivity to sport,” said Reileletseng.
Reikeletse said he hoped the problem at BSSA would not affect next year’s African Youth Games or any sporting progress and development.