The Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) president, Bob Lekan, says his priority will be to build the union a home in the next 18 months.
Speaking in an interview after being re-elected unopposed back into office during the Union’s Annual General Meeting this past weekend, Lekan said building the BRU offices will be top of his agenda during his tenure in office.
“The BRU needs a home of its own. We have been granted a plot by the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and our intention is to build there. We are paying a lot of money on rent for our offices, training facilities and even hosting teams and this money can be saved and utilised better if we have our own home,” Lekan said.
According to the BRU President, the building of the BRU home is estimated at around 16 million pula.
“This is big money that we as the Union cannot afford at the moment. The plan will be to build in phases so that we can build it over time and within our budget,” Lekan said.
According to the BRU president, another top priority during his tenure will be the development and training of coaches and referees to take charge of teams and games.
“At this moment, most of our local coaches are not highly qualified and this needs to be addressed if we are to progress. As for referees, we sometimes have to import referees from neighbouring countries like South Africa to officiate at our matches and this is very costly,” Lekan explained.
The BRU president says addressing this issue will be very good for the development of local rugby but said lack of funds and a home is a hindrance as they will need money to pay trainers, rent facilities as well as provide all necessities for such tasks.
“This is another reason why having our own home is a priority, to ensure that we can do more to develop without spending more than we can afford,” he added. “Third on my priority list will be finding a solution to the current state of rugby in our schools, which is due to the teachers/ government impasse. As with other sporting codes, the impasse has negatively affected us. Before it started, we had made headway in school rugby and had at least 115 schools playing rugby. At the moment, we have lost ground and more than 50 of the 115 schools are inactive, which is a drawback.
There is a need therefore to find solutions to the state of sport in schools,” he added.
On other issues, Lekan has expressed happiness at the progress that the BRU has made during the past year as compared to the turbulent 2010 season when he took over. He says the past year has been fruitful for the local rugby family as they have found and accepted the need to work together as a team.
“2010 was a year riddled with hostilities among us. I am happy that now people have realised that our infighting is killing our sport and have decided we need to stop it,” Lekan said.
On the development of rugby, Lekan says the union has decided to give all clubs registered with the union a CD of the laws and rules of the game to ensure that everyone knows how the sport is played and governed. He says this is done after realising that most people involved in the sport have not read the rules, something which has led to unnecessary clashes after people unknowingly broke the rules.
Meanwhile, Mpho Masisi has been voted the new BRU Vice President (VP). Masisi beat Alex Basitang by 11 votes to 4 to ascend the seat. the entire new BRU committee is Lekan (President), Masisi (VP), Modise Kadimo (Secretary General), Vincent Mashanya (Treasurer) and Maungo Molatole and Thusego Segaise as additional members.