The Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio on Youth, Sports and Culture, Dikgang Makgalemele, said that sport holds key to economic development of the country. Officially opening the 2013 Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division 7 tournament this past Thursday, Makgalemele said Sport Tourism can be a major player in the economic development of Botswana. He said with this in mind, the Botswana parliament has been busy trying to conceptualize how the country can incorporate Sport Tourism into its economic portfolio.
He said by hosting events such as the Pepsi ICC WCL tournaments, the country can attract potential investors who can contribute to the country’s economic growth. Turning his attention to the visiting teams and officials, Makgalemele implored them to enjoy all the hospitality that Botswana offers.
“As sportsmen coming into our country, we see you as potential investors. While here, please explore and see whether you can come back here in future to set businesses here, even if sports related,” he urged them.
Makgalemele, who is a Member of Parliament for Shoshong, urged the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) to spread the game of cricket throughout the country. He applauded the BCA for hosting the event for a second successive year, saying this would help grow the sport of cricket.
Meanwhile, the Pepsi ICC WCL division 7 tournament kicked off yesterday with all the six teams competing in action with Botswana taking on Ghana in Lobatse. The six teams are hosts Botswana, Nigeria, Fiji, Germany, Vanuatu and Ghana. The games continue today with Botswana taking on Vanuatu at the BCA Oval 2, Ghana playing Nigeria at the BCA Oval 1 while Germany will face off against Fiji in Lobatse. All games start at 0930 in the morning.
The other games will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and the finals on Saturday. The Winners and the runners’ up of the tournament will be promoted to the Pepsi ICC WCL Division 6 and will be expected to compete at the division tournament billed for Jersey, United Kingdom.
After failing to progress into the higher division in the past year when Botswana hosted, expectation is that Botswana will do well in this year’s tournament. The team has been together for a couple of years now and has gained experience over years.
Almost all the players have been part of the T20 team that recently competed at the T20 Africa Division 1 where they played and beat the likes of Nigeria, who are this tournament’s highest ranked team. The Botswana team, which is buoyed by home advantage, is expected to compete well.
Some of the players that will be expected to lead the Botswana charge are Captain and the team’s all rounder Karabo Modise and experienced batsman Faisal Rana Rasheed. The team is coached by Arjun Menon.