Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hockey team laments lack of support ahead of African championship

Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has lamented the lack of support from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), just a few weeks before the Under 21 Africa Hockey Championships slated for Windhoek, Namibia from the 18th-28th March. BHA will be sending its boys and girls Under 21 teams to represent the country at the championships, but Matebu has raised concerns about limited preparations for the continental tournament.

“We are struggling to prepare the team for the tournament and we have opted to cancel a training camp that was scheduled to commence a week prior to the championships. Unfortunately the BNSC has been unable to help us, citing lack of funds,” said Matebu.

Investigations by The Telegraph have revealed that parents have previously been forced to dig into their own pockets to finance their children’s continental travels; after the BNSC failed to pay for them while on national team duty. Matebu confirmed that hockey players will once again be travelling to Windhoek for national team duty at their own expense.

“Their parents will be sponsoring their trip even though they will be on national duty. It’s a challenge that we have been grappling with as an Association. It’s sad that the mother body has not been forthcoming in the face of such commitment,” he said.

Matebu contends that the BNSC’s cavalier attitude is self defeating as hockey has potential to bring results and put Botswana on the global map.

“Sadly, the annual grant that we get from the Commission can’t even pay for a single trip to a foreign country,” he said.

In response, BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo denied any knowledge of the BHA predicament, but explained that it could be a matter of competing priorities.

“Every sporting code is funded annually. In case of shortage of funds for international duties, there are procedures to be followed to get assistance. Associations that need assistance are catered for according to priority. It should be noted that requests for further funding should be submitted to the Commission well in time for assessment,” said Sedimo.

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