Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Lack of resources hobbles Botswana’s All Africa Youth Games team

The Chef de Mission (CDM) for Team Botswana’s 2nd Africa Youth Games, Tshepo Sitale, has appealed for Batswana and the local business community to support the team as it prepares for the games.
While more focus is on helping the Botswana Africa Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) to successfully host the games, Sitale said Batswana must also help the country’s team to prepare better if they are to compete successfully and bring the country glory during the games.
Speaking in an interview, the Botswana team CDM said one of the challenges facing the team’s preparations is lack of resources, something which may hamper the team’s preparations and performance during the games.
“What we want Batswana to understand is that the money going towards BAYGOC is going towards hosting the games and not towards Team Botswana’s preparations,” Sitale explained.
He said while it is good for Batswana and the local business community to give local stars incentives when they have done well in games, it is also imperative that they are also helped to prepare well for games.
“The greatest need for help is before teams compete when they are still preparing. While we have one eye on making the country proud during the coming games, we are also looking at the future. Our primary target here is to build a lasting legacy. We want these young athletes to be able to represent the country successfully in future and bring us more glory in international games like the Olympics,” the CDM said.
Meanwhile, Sitale said the team’s preparations are going well, with most of the teams having on and off training camps in the build up to the games. He said for some codes, expert coaches were brought in to help during some of the training camps.
“This has also included taking some of these youngsters outside the country for training, as has been the case with canoeing, or to compete as has been the case with boxing. We expect this to continue,” the CDM explained.
He said the trend will continue, with swimming expected to go to South Africa to compete there as part of their preparations.
While there are no medal targets set at the moment, Sitale said indications are that team Botswana may win a good number of medals during the games.
He said this is shown by the performances of the local athletes in their preparatory tournaments and competitions points outside the country.
“Karate competed in Durban recently and they acquitted themselves well. Our boxers were also in Cameroon recently and they brought home five medals,” the CDM said.
Meanwhile, Sitale said Botswana will have a strong 288 member team for the Africa Youth Games.
The team, which is expected to have its last major camp two weeks before the games commence, will be made of 206 athletes, while the remaining number will be team managers, coaches, medical staff and other support staff. The games will be hosted by Botswana in less than three months’ time.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper