As Covid-19 continues to ravage Botswana’s economy the sport sector, which has struggled with sponsorships for a long time, is feeling the pinch.
For over a year, sport has almost been at a complete standstill. Those relying on sports for income, including athletes, coaches, administrators and street vendors struggle to make ends meet.
With the private sector reeling from the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the economy, sports federations are fretting over how to resume once the pandemic recedes and sport is allowed back.
Not without cause. Even before the pandemic hit, sport struggled to reel in sponsors and even the once most attractive prospects like football felt the pain.
It was in this in mind that on the 18th of March, three stakeholders in local sport put their minds together to come up with a United for BW Sports campaign to help revive local sport.
The three organisations are Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Tsa Gae Investment, known as All Kasi.
According to BNOC Business Development and Strategy Manager Baboni Kupe, the campaign, a brain child of Tsa Gae, was initially meant to raise funds for the Olympic team preparations.
While the campaign should have been launched last year, it was postponed as Covid-19 took a toll on the country.
It is said that after realising the effect of Covid-19 on local sport, Tsa Gae took a decision to extend the campaign to cover all sport, not just the Olympic team.
“This is an altruistic campaign from Tsa Gae,” Kupe says. “The company will not be making any profit from the campaign’s t-shirts. All they get is production money,” she asserts.
The BNOC Business Development and Strategy Manager says the monies accrued for local sport from the campaign t-shirt sales will be put in a trust fund.
Kupe says a process to appoint the trustees of the fund, which will be overseen by all stakeholders in the campaign, is under way.
“Our intention is that every sporting code will be able to request financial assistance from the trust fund. The concerned code will however have to make a formal request, the merit of which will be assessed by the fund trustees,” she explains.
On how easy it will be for sporting codes to access the funds; Kupe says the hope is that the funds will be easily accessible to codes to help them resume sport after the Covid-19 tide ebbs.
The BNOC business development and strategy manager says for now, the intention is to sell a minimum of 100 000 t-shirts.
“We are appealing to corporates and individuals to join this campaign and buy these t-shirts to revive sport once it is allowed to resume,” she pleaded.
With the need for funding of sport dire, she says the hope between all stakeholders is for the campaign to continue over a long period of time.
The Botswana national Olympic team for Tokyo 2020/1 is expected to be the first beneficiaries of the campaign’s proceeds.