Monday, January 17, 2022

Where is it all going wrong?

All countries that are doing exceptionally well in the world of sports is not because of sheer luck but is the result of hard work and commitment in the development structures.

If structures are in place, success would easily follow. Development structures would guarantee success if there is proper guidance of athletes until such a time they break into major international competitions.

In Botswana, development structures of the country are not that bad compared to other African countries; we have produced many promising youngsters.

For instance in tennis, Tapiwa Marobela who is based in the US, was exceptional when she was very young.

There were even rumours that other European and Asian countries wanted to adopt her so that she competes for them.

Also, the Botswana youth team just arrived from the inaugural Africa youth Games in Morocco where they did well. The team went to the extent of winning gold medals, something that grabbed attention of the world media.

Even in the international secondary schools tournaments, Botswana is always the best but the only country that tends to stand in Botswana’s way is our neighbour, South Africa.

Surprisingly, local athletes rarely make it to top world standard. Those countries that Botswana always eclipse in the junior African tournaments normally have athletes who make it big in the international arena.

Middle distance runner, Amantle Montsho, and triple jumper, Gable Garenamotse, and the 4-by-4 relay are just some who nearly put Botswana on the world map but they are not yet there.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana National Olympic Committee, Tuelo Serufho, is also worried by the continuing trend in Botswana.

He told The Sunday Standard that there are a variety of factors contributing to the dismal performance of national teams at senior level, compared to the junior ones.

“It is so sad to always see us excelling at junior level only to falter where it matters the most. What I have noticed is that countries like South Africa rarely send their strongest teams for some regional games. After walloping them, we tend to think that we are better only to realize latter that we are not,” he said.

Serufho also added that there is a problem of rotational coaching. He said many local athletes are managed by different coaches in different tournaments, something he said is the opposite of what is going on in other countries that are doing well.

“This confuses kids because they are not learning from their mistakes. If kids are managed by the same coach in almost all competition they engage in, they will easily learn from the mistakes spotted by the coach but if you bring in a different one definitely they cannot,” he said.
Serufho also added that there is a problem of funds in Botswana, compared to other countries but the little available is not utilized to the fullest. He said Botswana should develop a long term strategy whereby all sporting codes should conquer in regional competitions before spreading to other parts of the continent.

Another aspect that he lamented as lacking in most of the local athletes is lack of hunger to excel and the will to succeed.

“Most of our sports personalities who have a great potential are never hungry for success. When they encounter certain challenges in life, they are easily discouraged compared to those from other African countries. This is really worrying,” he said.

A scientific approach is one of the things Serufho said is also lacking. He said Botswana needs to invest a lot in sports science just like other countries do or else nothing will improve.

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