Botswana sport industry is accused of excluding qualified women in top positions but rather appointing incapable female leaders for the sake of gender equality. This was revealed in an interview with Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) grassroots development coach and Junior women national team coach, Kago Gagobepe.
“Sport codes are trying hard in matters of balanced sport and inclusivity of women. Nevertheless, in our sport fraternity in Botswana it is a tendency to lose focus and add women in certain positions just because there should be gender parity in sport. Other leaders do not know anything about sport, which is bad, and therefore suffers sport qualified women who have been there for a long time in the industry,” he explained.
However, Gagobepe added that local basketball has had setbacks for the past three years, the first year there was no school sport and the last two years had no sport due to the pandemic. He said within that disadvantage there was an advantage, women in BBA propelled into better leadership positions last year. He outlined that Misani Mongwa was invited to the bootcamp in Kenya, BBA president Boineelo Hardy won at the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) elections.
“Observing BBA ladies advancing like that gives girl child hope, that they too can achieve something. The female athlete faces a lot of challenges in sport unlike their male counterpart, praise to all ladies that have made it. It must be noted that women are not doing this on their own, men are there for the support,” he said.
Gagobepe has observed that the pandemic affected women basketball players mostly. He indicated that one of the barriers that is hard to overcome is that women lose passion and interest fast especially when there is a halt in sport activities. When players where scouted, he states coaches observed that the teams have lost more female players. With what seems to be a change in lifestyle priorities, the coach said that mostly players have started families and unlike women, men can continue to play despite arising commitments.
Meanwhile he shared that,” female athletes need to keep playing sport with everything they can. Nowadays sport can change the life of an individual through benefits such as scholarships. In this era sport has changed, the ground has changed to become profitable to girl child.”
In the recently held Africa Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 games in Lesotho, the team did well and history was made with silver for the 3×3 team and bronze for the 5 on 5 squad.