The development of Sport Tourism is envisaged to pump life into the dry economic veins of Selebi Phikwe despite being a comparatively new concept far away from mining which has been the lifeline of the town for over forty years.
SPEDU’s Director of Strategic Projects, Jazenga Uezesa told the media recently that they have partnered with Selebi Phikwe Softball Extravaganza to use the tournament as a launch-pad to identify the positive impact that sport tourism can make as a developmental initiative to revive the economy of Selebi Phikwe. Uezesa noted that SPEDU took over the technical role that was played by BCL in helping organise and source sponsorship for the biggest softball tournament in the country. He highlighted that SPEDU has not come on board as a sponsor but a technical partner, playing parental role of organising alongside the tournament’s Local Organising Committee (LOC).
Apart from supporting the Softball Extravaganza tournament, Uezesa revealed that SPEDU has also partnered with Selebi Phikwe National Marathon to help push their mandate of laying a foundation and leading the economic diversification through sport and events tourism. The Director stated that Selebi Phikwe’s economy can be improved by hosting of regular sporting events as sport has increasingly taken a significant position in the economic and social growth of Botswana. Apart from Softball and Phikwe National Marathon, SPEDU has been supporting the Dr Kim’s Charity Golf Tournament that is also held in Selebi Phikwe.
He contends that hosting of regular sporting activities will stimulate tourism and open up opportunities for revenue injection into the coffers of the local business community. He emphasised that the Softball Extravaganza as a sporting activity forms part of their focus area of sport tourism and therefore looks forward to continue the partnership in the longer term.
The Coordinator and Tournament Director of Selebi Phikwe Softball Extravaganza, Daniel Mahupela said that the tournament which was started eight years ago, kicked off with a P50, 000 budget and has grown over the years to the current budget of P650, 000. He pointed out that despite losing many of their sponsors, the remaining seven have enabled the tournament to continue. Last year the tournament had 16 sponsors and the list has since gone down to seven. The remaining sponsors are KOMATSU and Bridgestone which are the longest and faithful sponsors since from the beginning, Puma Energy, Stanlib, Investec, Bitek and Boitekanelo.
Mahupela thanked the sponsors and paid a special tribute to Bridgestone, a tyre company based in South Africa which has seen the need to invest in sport development in Botswana. “We want to make Selebi Phikwe to remain at the centre of sport development and we are grateful to Bridgestone which saw the need to invest in sport not only in their home country but internationally,” said Mahupela.
The elimination games to qualify for the Extravaganza tournament will be held this weekend and the winners will be known by Monday, LOC member and Botswana Softball Association representative, Oeme Morupisi has said. Comets in Selebi Phikwe has already qualified by virtue of being the host while BDF IX men and Police IX ladies have also qualified by virtue of being the national league champions.
The first and second prize money will remain the same as last year at P75, 000 and P40, 000 respectively. The prizes have increased by P2, 000 from third position to eight. The third prize will be P28, 000 while fourth position will walk away with P23, 000. Position five and six will be awarded P18, 000 and P14, 000 respectively while the last two positions will go home with a consolation prize of P12, 000.
The overall budget for prizes and awards that include the Most Valuable Player, Best Slugger and Best Outfielder stands at P454, 000. Daniel Mahupela pointed out that despite a shortfall in sponsorships, prudent financial management practices made sure that the surplus from the previous tournament bridges the gap to ensure the smooth execution of the tournament.
Another member of the LOC, Lebofanye Kenosi noted that the preparations for the tournament are on-going, highlighting some changes that include a new arrangement for traffic flow. He said cars will move in one direction to avoid the congestion that they have experienced over the years.
He also noted that there was a plan for the tournament to start generating funds through gate-takings but due to financial challenges, logistical measures to ensure the smooth process and arrangement for gate takings have not been done. The tournament will however revisit the plan next year if the funds permit.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
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.