The president of the Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) Tshenolo Maruatona has singled out the lack of league funding as a major obstacle although sponsorships are showered on open championships in the local game.
“The federation has made efforts to resuscitate the Botswana Chess League without success. To date we have not been successful in soliciting a sponsorship for the league and this has been the major obstacle. We continue to explore ways through which we can run a successful and competitive league. The league is very integral in ensuring continuous play and keeping the players active,” said Maruatona
Speaking at BCF Annual General Meeting (AGM), Maruatona was concerned that the predicament had affected some local clubs who are still to fully subscribe with the federation.
“Another area of improvement is the organisation of our local teams. We still have a number of clubs whose structures are not in place. Some of these clubs are not fully registered and do not have their own in-house programmes or calendars,” said Maruatona
However, Maruatona was grateful that grassroots development had continued to bear fruit. “With our robust focus on youth development, we have seen an impressive increase in the number of kids who have shown interest in the game of chess. The number of schools countrywide has increased and the level of participation at events is equally impressive. Over and above the growth in the numbers, we have seen substantial improvement in the quality of players,” he said.
He said Botswana was establishing itself as a force as far as youth chess was concerned. “We have widely known youth players such as like Naledi Marape, Besa Masaiti and Iphazha Masala just to name a few,” he said, pointing out at the teachers’ efforts in this regard.
He lauded some of the youngsters that have represented the country exceptionally well in regional and continental competitions.
‘’Botswana chess players continue to compete in a number of events in Africa and the rest of the world. This is important in measuring ourselves against competition pound for pound and our players continue to impress. The Botswana flag was flown high when Marape and Masaiti won silver and bronze medals respectively at the Africa Youth Chess Championships,” he said.