Julian Mathews, the Managing Director of JB Sports, has called on the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) to give opportunities to other sponsors for the annual sports awards. Speaking at the launch of the volleyball festival tournament on Friday, Mathews said other sponsors should participate to show their involvement in sports. “Since the annual BNSC awards would not be sponsored by Barloworld in the future, other companies should be given a chance. For instance BNSC can request other sponsors to come forward and sponsor the prizes for various sports codes at the national event so that the nation recognises their efforts in the development of sports. The relevant companies will get a proportionate mileage in the marketing and advertisement,” he said.
Mathews also called on the department of Sports and recreation to review the possibilities of having an annual sports expo again. He said the sports expo was started two years ago but was discontinued for some reasons.
“Now we have an independent Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture. The Ministry should review the possibilities of having an annual sports expo. I personally feel that to attract people in to the recreational sports we need to mix sports with active fashion, especially targeting the youth. In fact this is what JB Sports is doing. I request the Director of the Department of Sports to start conducting sports exhibition mixing sports with fashion,” he said.
Mathews, however, thanked the government for exempting the sponsorship money from the tax rebate. His main worry was that most sponsors mainly want to sponsor soccer. He said most companies should do like JB Sports and sponsor other codes like volleyball. He said sports nowadays is a serious business and contributes substantially to the development of any nation. Matthews said sports even contributes substantially to the development of the tourism sector and to tourism which brings opportunities to other sectors of the economy like travel, traditional art, retail, hotel, media and communication.
Mathews also expressed concern about the underutilisation of government sports facilities in Botswana . He cited the University of Botswana which he said has one of the best facilities in the region.
“I am very disappointed that the University of Botswana facilities are seldom used by the students. Mostly they are used by other members of the community who stay in Gaborone,” he said.
The volleyball festival tournament has been sponsored to the tune of P75 000. The tournament will start on the weekend of November 3. All men and women volleyball teams will be taking part in the tournament. JB Sports has been sponsoring volleyball for more that ten years now. Last year it was sponsoring the women league after Top One Mageu pulled out.