Sports development in Botswana still lags behind compared to other countries around the world.
This is reflected by the performance of Botswana’s national teams at major international competitions.
Currently Botswana is yet to win a medal at the much coveted games like the Olympics.
In football on the other hand, the national team is yet to qualify for the biennial Africa Cup of Nations. The issue can be traced to the fact that most teams in Botswana do not own land. Most of the land they use for practice purposes either belongs to schools or other government institutions.
This then means any time the land owners want it there is little the teams can do.
Some of the grounds they use for training purposes are in deplorable condition.
However, teams always claim that it is the government that is letting them down by not assisting them to acquire land.
They claim that the government should be the one encouraging teams to own land and, as such, it should be easy when they apply for the land through the government’s facilitation instead of going through the long and exhausting channels.
Currently, almost all Premier League teams, with the exception of the government teams, do not own land.
Teams further claim that lack of land means that they cannot even develop properly where they are training because they do not know when they are going to be chased out.
On the other hand, the Director of Sports and recreation, Falcom Sedimo has come out in strong defence of the government saying the teams have themselves to blame. He said the government, through the various departments, like the Botswana National Sports Council, has played a pivotal role but the teams are the ones that are not coming forward.
“If I recall well, Palapye side Motlakase had a problem acquiring land to build their own stadium. But they came to us and we did all what we could and they are now building their stadium. We also had officials from Botswana Karate Association and Judo and we helped them. What I can say is that teams should come forward to us because we want sports to go to another level in this country,” he said.
Sedimo added that one element he has observed is that once teams use the land previously underutilised they do not look into the development plans of that area and that is why they are always asked to move, something that is unfortunate. He said if teams have earmarked a piece of land they should do a research first before approaching them so that it is easy to facilitate.