Nowadays, many sporting ventures cater for both boys and girls to become players of their favoured sport.
This has not always been possible back in the days; girls were only allowed to play netball and take up running, while the boys enjoyed a variety of choices they could go for, like football, basketball, softball, volleyball, cricket etc.
Today, all these sporting codes have both a men and a women’s team, therefore, school girls get continuous encouragements to join a sport they are good at while they are still young, for their entertainment and to provide much needed form of exercise.
Some young girls take up sports when they are still in primary school and then they lose interest and focus more on their studies by the time they reach high school level. As is currently the case, those that do take up sport are more interested in some sporting codes more than others, e.g. they prefer netball, volleyball and soft ball to basketball, football and golf.
Sports like golf and cricket, which are relatively modern to Botswana society, have been doing their best in trying to woo more girls to participate in their clubs.
At one time, Tiny Kgatlwane, vice president of the Botswana Ladies’ Golf Union said that most women have the wrong perception of golf; she said that most think of golf as a men’s game.
“It’s not a men’s game; in fact there are tournaments for girls similar to those the Tiger Woods of this world participate in. It’s just that they don’t receive as much coverage. There are even golf academies for girls in South-Africa and other countries,” said Kgatlwane.
She revealed to Sunday Standard that they had a shortage of local girls and women in their clubs, stating that the majority of women in Botswana golf clubs were wives of expatriates.
Be that as it may, she said that the Golf union has a few developmental programmes in place to help them introduce golf to different schools.
The programmes would receive help and financial cover from both the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the First National Bank (FNB).
Kgatlwane said the youngest player for their team is a 14-year-old and they are hoping more girls could join golf as it is a sport that builds discipline.
“It’s normally easy to join our clubs; all that is needed is passion and interest and one to choose whether they want the Gaborone Golf Club or the Phakalane Golf Club. We really encourage more girls to join golf,” said Kgatlwane.
Meanwhile, cricket, which is also a relatively modern sport to Botswana, is also suffering from a shortage of girl participants at national team level but recently, more girls have shown an interest in playing compared to past years.
Head of the cricket developmental programme for government schools, Girish Ramakrishna, says the programme hasn’t had any problems with girls’ participation in the sport before.
The programme, which was implemented in 2007, has enjoyed tremendous growth as they have more than 3500 primary school students enrolled under them.