Many good sports players in Botswana are sent overseas to sharpen their skills while pursuing their studies. However, the most unfortunate thing about the players upon finishing their studies is that a little is heard about them and their talent is almost gone to waste. In most cases, only a fraction of them is actively involved in their respective codes while others are not in anyway attached to their respective sports codes that engineered their move overseas.
The typical example is in tennis, which once had brimming talent of youngsters who made their mark not only locally but also on the international scene. Some players that come into mind are Thato Kgosimore, Michael Judd and Petrus Molefhe. Since returning from overseas the trio is rarely seen in tennis circles.
The secretary general of the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) blames the structures that are currently in place. He said the current structures do not accommodate former players and this takes the sport backward. He said tennis could have gone far in Botswana if their services could be fully utilised.
Amanze, however, said BTA recently held a meeting on how they could utilise the services of former tennis players, for the benefit of the sport. He said the affected players might be well off at their respective jobs, but seeing talent they had just lying idle and going to waste is painful.
?In almost every sport, you cannot take someone from outside with little knowledge to help develop tennis. Former players are the ones who are supposed to do that because they know what it takes to be a good player. That?s something that forced us to call a meeting and brainstorm how to utilise the services of our former stars. Youngsters also get inspired once they are trained by people who once played the sport competitively,? he said.
Amanze also said the main problem was communication between the association and the concerned players. He said the two parties never sat down in the past to look at how they could work hand in hand.
Currently, there are also some excellent local tennis players overseas and if more is not done, they might also find themselves not involved in any tennis activities. The players include the likes of Tapiwa Marobela and Phenyo Matong.
Athletics once sent overseas athletes such as Tuelo Setswamorago, Justice Dipeba, Otukile Lekote and Gable Garenamotse. A little is heard of Lekote and Setswamorago while the rest are involved with athletics. Dipeba, who is currently based in Maun, is trains the youth teams.
The technical officer of the Botswana Athletics Association, Bobby Gaseitsiwe, said they have lost some of the greater athletes. But he, however, emphasised that in athletics, most of the former players never turn their backs on them and are involved in the day to day development of the sport. He said, in most cases, it is hard for the association to give athletes jobs although athletes never shun them.
?Most of the local athletes that once went overseas are helping us a lot. Currently Dipeba is with the national school teams that recently went to Namibia. We also recently sent him for a level two coaching course. Others like Rampa Mosweu are our new secretary general. This shows you that former athletes are keen to be involved with the sport,? he said.
Currently, there are many local athletes who are overseas doing sports related courses. It is not known whether on their return they can easily find jobs or help their respective codes. Some of them are Obakeng Ngwigwa, California Molefhe, Kabelo Kgosiemang (Athletics), Odirile Sibanda, Peaceful Seleka, Tshepo Iketeng, Tshwanelo Boitumelo (Volleyball).
With the new ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture already in place, maybe athlete?s services could be fully utilised for the benefit of the nation. Prior to the creation of the Ministry, the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) employed the duo of Shadrack Kapeko and Garenamotse as sports development officers.
BNSC however made it clear that there is no guarantee that all athletes would be absorbed.