He is like a bullet when he is on the homerun, true to his name (Letsile) loosely translated ‘it has arrived’ indeed a bullet has reached our athletics tracks; and we are thankful, just like his surname (Tebogo).
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is famed for its consistency when it comes to producing some of the country’s top quality athletes, 200m specialist, Letsile Tebogo is no exception. In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Tebogo said he started seriously taking part in athletics in 2016 when he was still at primary school. At the time he was under the guidance of former national team coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe.
“In 2016 during Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) competitions, I won three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays. I went on to reach the national finals in 2017 under the 200m category when I was doing my form 1,” he shared. “Despite not winning anything the previous year, in 2018 I came back well prepared and went on to win two gold medals under the 200m category and 4X100m relays. I also won silver medal after my sterling performance in the 100m race during the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) national finals,”
Tebogo produced an amazing performance at the just ended Botswana games which were held from the 9th to the 18th December 2019, in Gaborone. The talented athlete smashed Baboloki Thebe’s 200m National Record of 21:25. He went on to win the gold medal after recording an impressive time of 21:12, eventually qualifying for the upcoming under 20 World Athletics Championships which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 7th to the 12th July. There is more competition for Tebogo to scintillate track enthusiasts – the Region 5 competitions will be hosted by Lesotho late this year.
The Kanye born sprinter is part of the five member team of athletes who booked themselves places at the forthcoming World Under-20 championships. The five;Boitshepiso Kelapile, Bernard Olesitse, Letsile Tebogo, Keoleboga Balemogi and Jayson Mandoze qualified for the games, after displaying a spectacular performance during the Botswana Games.The 200m specialist hailed the contributions made by his former coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe and also his current coach Kebonemodisa Koatshabe. He said the two have made a meaningful impact in his career.“They have been instrumental in my athletics career,” he said.
For his part, coach Molefi Josiah (Letsile’s school coach) said, “The boy has a massive talent, it’s very important to have discipline as it is the key in sport. We are also careful because injuries occur during the time when you tend to participate in many athletics events,” he said. Josiah begged Tebogo to start prioritizing his race to avoid taking part in unnecessary competitions as he might miss important athletics competitions due to injuries. The 17 year old is part of the BAA provisional team that went into training camp last week Wednesday in Gaborone to prepare for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and also the under 20 World Championships.
As a young man the Kanye born track and field devotee tried many sporting activities when he was growing up. According to his mother, Tebogo’s preferred sport was football but he ended up excelling in athletics. “We didn’t take him seriously even when he brought home medals and certificates until he qualified for BOPSSA nationals held in Molepolole in 2016.” This was Tebogo’s biggest moment because he qualified for COSSASA games held in Namibia back in 2016. Tebogo was fortunate enough to have a teacher with an eye – this said teacher discovered his talent at Philip Moshotle Primary School.
The talented youngster was later introduced to the National team coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe who galvanized him for greater drives of today. Tebogo should blast past Isaac Makwala’s records because age is definitely on his side and he has more time to compete in the sport.
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.
Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.
The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.
According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.
“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.
The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.
“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.
FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.
Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.
For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.
The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.
When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”