The Chairperson of the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), Solly Reikeletseng, said the council does not have enough capacity to properly monitor whether its affiliates follow their athletes development plans.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sports, the BNSC Chairperson said at the moment, the council is very limited in overseeing whether the affiliates properly use the grant money allotted to them for athletes’ development.
As per the new BNSC 2028 strategy, at least 40 percent of all the annual grants from the BNSC to the affiliates are to be channeled into athletes’ development while the remaining 60 percent is to be split evenly between competition and administration. Despite this clear mandate, Reikeletseng said at the moment, it is difficult to determine whether the 40 percent allocated for development is used appropriately.
“Ideally, the money allotted to development should be used for youth and coaches’ development as well as infrastructure and programme development. However, not all of our sporting codes have fully structured developments and thus it is difficult to notice how the money is spent,” the BNSC Chairperson explained.
He added another factor which made it difficult for the BNSC to monitor whether the funds are used appropriately is the overlapping between development and competition. “Part of development is taking athletes for competitions and as it stands, some of this money designated for development is spent on taking athletes to various competitions,” he explained.
Reikeletseng said as the BNSC, they usually release the money to affiliates after being shown their development programmes, plans and budgets, but whether those are truly followed is yet to be determined. To partially ensure funds are used for development, he said the BNSC is cascading some of its existing development programmes, like Re Ba Bona Ha, to sporting codes so that they can adopt them.
The BNSC Chairperson lamented that the current programmes are not adequate enough to accelerate sport development as they mostly leave out kids who they should mostly be targeting. He said in an ideal situation, the development grants should be also going through to primary schools but this is not always the case.
Reikeletseng said as such, there is a vacuum between the real grassroots development at primary schools and at secondary schools, culminating in late development of athletes.
“As the BNSC, in our 2028 vision, we have infused some parts of Botswana’s Long Term Athletes Development (BLTAD) plans into our vision 2028 and have encouraged codes to follow suit. However, each code has its own way of doing things and we cannot force them to do as we see fit. Yes, as the BNSC, we can try force them to do as we wish by withholding development funds but we would rather just try influence and guide their process of development,” he explained.
He said as such, the BNSC’s preference is now that all the affiliates should centre their development plans around the Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) and the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) so as to properly develop athletes from the grassroots.
“Honestly, I believe most of the codes should follow the route taken by the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) and do their development at primary schools. Only then can the grants allocated for development is truly utilized,” he said, adding that should affiliates consider taking this route, it will be even affordable as teachers could be trained to coach and be used to drive grassroots development.
In the future, the BNSC said that the council will be trying more to influence athlete development programmes more especially at the grassroots.
“There is still a lot that needs to be done and can be done more especially at Primary schools if we are to have proper development structures and we will obviously be looking at that,” he said.