Ahead of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which were held recently, Botswana National Olympics Committee (BNOC) tried their best to promote and finance the Botswana team.
In a bid to augment the preparation monies from the government, the BNOC undertook a number of initiatives.
These included the SMS Donation Campaign, the launch the United for BW sport also the BW Sport jersey in collaboration with All Kasi and the ill-fated Gala dinner which had to be cancelled due to the covid pandemic.
Despite spirited attempts to promote them, all these initiatives did not make much of what they were aimed to make.
“We have not managed to reach our targets, nonetheless, we are appreciative to all those who have contributed thus far. The BNOC is also aware of the extenuating circumstances which may have hindered financial support from the public, as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted all of us,” BNOC business development manager Baboni Khupe said.
Given all the circumstances mentioned, she said as an organisation, BNOC will forever be grateful for all the support that Batswana had and continue to demonstrate towards both Team Botswana athletes and BNOC.
Khupe was however quick to point out that while the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have come and gone, the United for BW Sport Campaign is ongoing and the wish is for Batswana to continue supporting it.
“Proceeds from this campaign are going towards funding various sporting initiatives, including the following upcoming Games; Addis Ababa 2022 African Youth Games, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Trinidad and Tobago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games. These Games are all on our road as we build up to participation at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Other innovative fundraising initiatives shall be communicated in due course,” Khupe said.
Commenting on the matter, sport Journalist Bongani Malunga is of the view that Botswana National Sporting Commission (BNSC) and BNOC should hire an advertising or marketing agency to get more financial support from the private sector. Noting that Botswana sports bodies are capable of attracting sponsors but they are limited.
“A professional agency knows boardroom talk and they may be well suited to come up with a more sustainable initiative or promotion,” Malunga commented.
It is quite evident that Batswana do show support, however, the support is less financial as an organisation may wish for. Malunga added that it is indeed true and great that the public is showing support but in their own terms. He highlighted that Batswana need to purchase merchandise (the United for BW jersey) as a financial contribution that will go a long way than only sharing on social media about their performance.
“Batswana are not the only ones who need to step up but corporates and private companies need to be proactive in their support for our athletes, they should stop capitalizing on their glorious moments for their own promotional purposes while not offering long term support,” Malunga said.
On another hand, Prince Tshoswane, sport Journalist said Olympic Games, on their own, have the value to market any country that performs well.
“Once such a country is well known, it’s easy for investors to google and have curiosity to know more. This then goes without a saying, BNOC and all stakeholders should change tact in preparation for games of such magnitude,” Tshoswane explained.
He however said, it should start from the Ministry of Sport and by extension, the cabinet of this country to change the sport policy, once and for all. Pointing out that the annual budget allocated to the BNSC must be improved.
“All sports bodies that give out results must be prioritised and forget about those that do not perform. Our population is so small that we cannot go all the way with about 40 sporting codes. Government must take a leading role and ensure that preparations begin as early as now,” he said.
For countries like Britain, for example, Tshoswane said their budget for the 2024 games is already done and all athletes share the same dream of the country. He highlighting that it is very important to prepare well in time and forget about last minute incentives that do little to motivate athletes.
“Sport is no longer entertainment, it is business and once every pillar function, the country reaps many rewards. For example, employment opportunities, goodwill, investment opportunities, chances of hosting global games and of course sport tourism this are some of the areas that reap from sport,” he concluded.