It all started when long-serving Chief Executive Officer, Kitso Kemoeng, resigned amid speculation that he was not in good terms with the incoming boss. Both Reikeletseng and Kemoeng tried to deny it but those close to the two said the opposite.
Three other senior staff members also left the council in the early days of Reikeletseng’s rein. That meant BNSC was left without the most powerful staff members and fingers were pointed at one man, Reikeletseng. Some people even wondered why the Minister of Sport, Shaw Kgathi, settled for him.
In the past three months, things changed for the worst when Reikeletseng was accused of misusing the council’s funds. The restructuring process at the council also did not help matters. But those who believe in the youngest ever BNSC boss say that if the affiliates grant him the necessary support, he is likely to succeed.
All this time when he was on the firing line, Reikeletseng surprisingly remained mum, something which made many believe that all the accusations were true. Different sections of the media grilled him and he kept a brave face. Trying to get an interview with Reikeletseng has been the most difficult thing as he claimed to be running around doing damage control.
When he finally agreed to grant one, it was clear that Reikeletseng has so much in his hands. He has to clear the image of the council and make people believe in his leadership. In his office, there is a huge wall picture which reads: “Dragon” and it seems this is where he takes inspiration.
Being a black-belt karateka, one would think that Reikeletseng is a tough man, more especially that he has not been responding to the things which were said about him in the media.
Within minutes of settling down for the interview, he was quick to admit that being at the helm of BNSC has not been easy.
“I’m not going to pretend, it has been hell for me. Losing senior staff members was not an easy thing because I wanted them to help me drive the council in the direction I want. They had lots of experience which was going to benefit sport,” he said.
Reikeletseng added that ever since coming into office, there have been so many reports, which have given him sleepless nights but in his view it was an unnecessary public spat. He said that he took strength from state president Ian Khama, the then vice president Mompati Merafhe and Kgathi who have passion for sport. He also paid tribute to some sporting codes that have put their weight behind him despite all the things that have been said about him.
“If I’m a problem, I’m ready to step down but I’m still to be convinced that I’m the problem. If at the end of my term (July 2013) the minister decides that he has to bring in someone, I’ll always be grateful for having led BNSC. One thing which is clear is that leading sport is a thankless job and it’s very lonely (at the top). Sport is more political than politics,” said BNSC boss.
The Serowe-born leader asserted that when he accepted the appointment from the minister, his main mission was to implement sports vision nothing else. He pointed out that it is important for the affiliates and other stakeholders to understand that he is not in his position to pick fights with anyone.
“That is why I’ve not been responding to accusations. I’m also not here to be part of divisions nor popularity mission. I’m here to do my job and, with the experiences I’ve had, I learnt that it’s important for me to do my job and forget the criticism and perceptions,” he continued.
Reikeletseng said that his biggest challenge since coming into office has been the turf wars which exist within the sporting codes. He disclosed that divisions are too big to an extent that one will never get support from the opposing camp even when you come with something beneficial to the organization.
“I’m a different, Solly Reikeletseng that’s my brand. My leadership style is unique and it’s hands on. I deal with every individual with the respect they deserve. There is no individual who is better than the other,” he said.
Reikeletseng did not dwell on the issue of misuse of funds, saying that his hands are clean. He claimed that there are people who are bent on ruining his name but he will not let them have the last say. He said that the bad thing is that the Sports Act does not give BNSC boss the authority to discipline and restore order.
“I’m happy that the Government is reviewing it and it is expected to be tabled in Parliament later this year,” said Reikeletseng.