The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, has made known his displeasure at the way sport development is heading in the country.
In a strong worded and very frank address to delegates during the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Minister expressed his disappointment at the lack of structured talent development programmes in the country. During his address at the AGM, which was held at the Lobatse Civic Centre, Kgathi said as the Minister of Sport in the country, it is his desire to see “structured talent identification processes”. He said currently, national team selections are based on chance, something which he believes can be averted with proper talent identification and development.
Kgathi cited the Botswana National Football Team, the Zebras, as an example of a team selected on chance, saying that even though the country sent a strong team, it still failed to beat teams that were made of young footballers. He said it is embarrassing for a national association to send an ill prepared team to represent the country at an international event just for the sake of participating.
“Let us be honest, why should we spend a lot of money on mere participation?” the Minister asked.
“Rather, such money should be spent on grassroots sport development programmes for future preparation of stronger and well prepared teams,” he continued. Still on the issue of development, Kgathi expressed his frustration at BNSC and its affiliates’ lack of interest in using School Centres of Sport Excellence (CSE) to develop athletes.
While something is happening at CSE in Senior Schools, Kgathi’s frustration stemmed more from lack of interest at junior secondary schools. Despite it being two years since CSEs were started, Kgathi said he is yet to see names of student athletes enrolled at the CSEs in Junior Secondary school level. He said as a result, the young student athletes who deserved to benefit from the CSEs do not as they are now scattered across the country.
The Minister cited the example of reigning women’s 400 metres local champion Galefele Moroko, who he said though she needs to be in a CSE for proper development, she is not. Though citing Moroko, Kgathi said the problem extends even to football.
On other issues, the Minister also came down hard on the BNSC, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) as well as National Associations whom he told to solve the acrimonious relationships within themselves as well as between some of them.
“As to what seems a tug of war, especially between the BNSC and BNOC, this is uncalled for. The two as all know, are striving for the same goals using the same athletes. I, therefore, expect the leadership of the two organizations to resolve whatever differences there are between them, otherwise I would invoke the powers vested in me as Minister of Sport to take the necessary action,” he warned them.
He also warned all involved in sport to stop using the media to express their grief, saying they should solve their differences within and not publicly.
Meanwhile, the Minister has reappointed Solly Reikeletseng to lead the BNSC for a third term. The Minister also appointed Deputy Permanent Secretary in his Ministry, Jefferson Siamisang, as the Ministry’s representative in the BNSC while Seabe Raditladi will represent the Ministry of Education and Skills Development in the committee.