Eight of Botswana’s pioneering sports administrators and sportsmen were this week inducted into the Botswana Sports Hall of Fame.
The eight recipients, who will be known as the Class of 2014 and will be enshrined in the annals of Botswana’s sporting history, are the first inductees.
They were inducted during a glitzy ceremony held at the National Stadium this past Thursday.
The recipients, some of whom were inducted posthumously, were selected through a national voting process.
The ceremony was graced by, among others, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, members of the Diplomatic Corps, inductees, among them the former Vice President, Lt General Mompati Merafhe, as well as families of the inductees.
Welcoming guest to the inaugural induction, Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) Chairman, Solly Reikeletseng said the induction into the hall of fame ‘is the peak of the career of any sports man and woman of his own times.’
“Through this initiative, we aim to preserve Botswana’s rich sporting extraordinary achievements, experiences and contributions of our inductees to inspire all Batswana, young and old, to aspire to reach their dreams in sport or life in general,” the BNSC Chairman explained.
The Botswana Sports Hall of Fame, which will be housed at the National Stadium, is expected to help keep record of the growth of sports in Botswana.
The facility will display photographs, memorabilia, equipment and clothing used by inductees.
Of the eight initial inductees, four were recognized posthumously and their families received the awards on their behalf, while the other four graced the occasion.
Among those honoured posthumously are famed administrator, Cuthbert Alban Ramasodi Motsepe, who is the co-founder of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) as well as the co-founder of the Chappies Little League. Other inductees rewarded posthumously were former tennis coach and administrator Euphemia Tlhapane, former football great William ‘Paymaster’ Dennison as well as former Vice President Peter Mmusi.
The late Vice President, who was a founding member of Township Rollers Football Club, was a sports administrator and was the founding Chairperson of the BNSC.
The surviving inaugural hall of fame inductees on the other hand are former football great, coach and administrator Nicholas ‘Lele’ Sebele, former Athletics National Team coach Reuben ‘Raj’ Rathedi, former footballer and renowned sports administrator Ishmael Bhamjee as well as another former Vice President Lt. General Merafhe.
The former Vice President, who is the Patron of BAA, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Tennis Club and BDF XI Football Club, is also a co-founder of the BAA.
Through his illustrious career as a sports administrator, Merafhe served as the President of the then Botswana Amateur Athletics Association (BAAA) from 1978 to 1980, before serving as the Chairman of Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and BNSC from 1980 to 1989 simultaneously. Outside Botswana, Lt. General Merafhe also served as the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) from 1978 to 1989.
He was also a founder and Executive Member of the Supreme Council of Sports in Africa (SCSA). The inaugural Hall of Famers were inducted by Minister Kgathi.
Earlier in his keynote address at the inaugural event, Kgathi welcomed the Botswana Hall of Fame initiative, which he says will honor those who have ‘done a lot in their respective sport to deserve accolades, be remembered and honored.’