For the first time in history, Francistown will host the 4th edition of the Botswana Games from the 5th- 13th of December, 2015. The games will also coincide with the opening of the new Francistown stadium which is nearing completion after five years of being plagued by controversy. The event is expected to host 4 000 participants.??Welcoming participants during the launch of the games in Francistown Monday, the city mayor Sylvia Muzila, lauded the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture for having seen it befitting to give Francistown an opportunity to host the games.?“The games came at the right time as Francistown City Council is currently on a quest of transforming Francistown into a city of vibrancy by 2022. I also wish to commend the Ministry for giving Francistown a chance to host the games of this magnitude as this will also help to market Francistown and also help it in its endeavour to lure in investment,” said the Mayor.?
Officially launching the games, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng said after three consecutive times hosting the games in Gaborone, Francistown as the second city became their natural choice. He further said that it is the policy in his Ministry that games of this magnitude, including national teams matches are hosted in different locations around the country.?“This will not only showcase local talent to Batswana at large, but will also improve ownership and support of our athletes,” said Olopeng.?He commended the Francistown leadership for giving his Ministry an opportunity to host the games.
He said the games will bring great benefits to the city of Francistown which include economic benefits accruing from publicity, procurement for the games and the purchasing power of the over 4 000 participants expected at the event.?“I have no doubt that the leadership of Francistown will work with my team for a successful delivery of the games. We count on your commitment and support. Games of this magnitude require your involvement at different levels including Local Organising Committee and volunteer services,” the Minister said.?Giving a brief background on the games, Olopeng said the Botswana games target junior athletes under the age of 19 years and are held every two years.┬á He said the timing for the games has been chosen to enable them to serve as qualifying competitions for the African Union Sport Council Region 5 under 20 games.?
“The Botswana Games started in 2007 with a total of 3 029 participants from all the 16 districts participating in 11 sporting codes. There has been continuous growth from all the 16 districts participating in 11 sporting codes. There has been continuous growth to 3 569 participants in┬á2009 and 4 926 in 2011,” he said.?Olopeng said the 2013 games were not held as they had to take the hard decision of prioritising the Africa Youth Games 2014 which were held in Gaborone over the 2013 edition of the Botswana Games due to resource limitations. He however said that the youth games were a major success both on and off the field.?
“The success of the games hinges on close cooperation and collaboration between all stakeholders. The local authorities, sponsors, parents and volunteers all have a key role in such games. At this point let me turn my attention to the corporate world in various districts where teams will be coming from. Local business enterprises must support their district teams to ensure their successful participation in the games,” he added.?He said that such key areas as sport attire, equipment, transport and training require financial resources. He urged corporate organisations and the business community to support their district teams in that regard. Olopeng also said there is no better corporate social investment than investing in young people in one’s locality.??In conclusion the minister also introduced the 2015 games patron, Local Organizing Committee, Logo and Branding and a volunteer programme.