BY GODFREY MOWANENG
With a desire to increase visibility and elevate the fencing sport in the local arena, the Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS) demands grants allocated to the sport be increased in the next financial year.
BAFS President Mandla Masuku revealed to the Sunday Standard following the recent donation the society received from international fencing mother body, FIE this week.
BAFS received sporting equipment worth 5000 Euros from FIE material aid programme 2019 expected to arrive in the country in a few weeks while the delayed 2018 aid equipment was received by the society this week. Masuku said it is challenging to drive the society to greater heights with P 150, 000 per annum grant received from Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC).
“We appreciate the support we get from Government and the BNSC. In the same breath we sensitise them of the need to increase our grant. The P 150 000 remains stagnant and denies us of growth. The grant is short to meet the high demands associated with a sport like fencing and we hope the BNSC top brass will look into the factor,” said Masuku.
The President also noted that FIE has always been supportive due to their continued visibility despite challenges faced. “FIE recognises BAFS efforts with their communication and updating progress of the domestic participation of the sport. Participating in FIE activities has also contributed for us to be selected for the material aid which is very vital as we struggle with local sponsorship,” Masuku told the Sunday Standard.
Furthermore, Masuku said international support they get from organisations such as FIE are most welcome as they will assist in the society’s growth in their efforts to being among sustainable sporting codes in the country. ‘’ Without support and capital it is really challenging to move an organisation forward, so we appreciate FIE for the relentless support and our wish is to witness BAFS and domestic fencing able to sustain itself in the near future,” said Masuku.
While sources revealed that the society is at an advanced stage of gunning down a major sponsor, Masuku shied away from revealing details of the ongoing talks with the potential sponsor. ‘’It is interesting that we are now having potential sponsors promising to come on board. At the moment we have just a single private sponsor and we are at an advanced stage in negotiations with a major sponsor. We cannot reveal the sponsor yet as talks are still ongoing,” Masuku told Sunday Standard.
He concluded narrating that: “We have proved that we are competitive after bringing home silverware in our last competition in South Africa and believe with more support we will prove to be competitive internationally.”