The Executive Secretary of the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), Kitso Kemoeng, has come out in defence of Sports Development officers who are employed across the country by BNSC.
Kemoeng told Sunday Standard that even though they come from different sports codes, they are trained to develop all sports codes.
“Some codes in the country already have national development officers and technical staffs, their programmes in other parts of the country have to be facilitated. Hence the appointment of generic sports development officers to facilitate programmes originated by the sport-specific national development officers in the various disciplines. The generic Sports Development Officers are not appointed as coaches, neither are they appointed as players; they are appointed as facilitators of development, basing on their qualifications, irrespective of their sports preferences,” he said.
Kemoeng’s comments come at a time when some codes are complaining that they are not benefitting much from sports development officers who were involved with their respective codes before they went for studies and subsequently employed by the BNSC.
Codes have also complained that they are further hard done because the officers are posted to remote areas where their expertise is not fully utilised. Some of the codes that have openly voiced their concerns are Botswana Volleyball Federation and Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA).
Both codes, however, said they are continuing dialogue with the BNSC to see how best the situation can be improved.
Renowned athletes that are employed by the BNSC are the likes of Khumiso Ikgopoleng, Shadrack Kapeko, Peaceful Seleka and Gable Garenamotse. Khumiso is so far the one who has achieved the most as a Botswana athlete at major international competitions.
He has been posted to Masunga.
Despite being based in Masunga, he also doubles up as the national boxing coach.
Kapeko and Seleka are seasoned volleyball players and based in Serowe and Lobatse, respectively.
Kemoeng also added that in future, BNSC might consider hiring Sports Development Officers for specific assignments based on their background and preference.
“In the course of time, depending on the existence of vacancies, these generic development officers may be considered for sport-specific appointments based on their backgrounds and preference. When that time comes, what best sport-specific development officers can a country have than those who have a generic experience! Specialist doctors start as general practitioners before they specialize. The same goes for nurses and other professionals,” he said.
Sport Development Officers are athletes who excelled academically and then earned themselves government sponsorship to study sports related courses overseas. Currently most of them study in Cuba at Havana International School of Physical Education and Sport.