Judo and swimming will this year have their share of fame and prestige cultivated as they will make their maiden appearance at the most watched sporting showpiece next month.
Swimming sensation, Naomi Ruele who met the Olympic “B” standard time in the 50m freestyle, failed to make it into the FINA quota places of automatic entries when the qualification closed on the 3rd of July. Following this fiasco, Botswana who has three slots under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) University Places, will award one entry to swimming to diversify team Botswana.
On the other hand Judo’s duo of Cavin Mogopa and Thato Lebang are also expected to be part of the team that will leave to Rio on Tuesday. They have been competing in various competitions unfortunately failing to make the cut for the multi-sport event. The two together with Ruele will be based in Hungary and USA respectively for their training camp and acclimatization before jetting off to Brazil on the 28th as their competitions take off on the 6th of July. Although Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) didn’t want to reveal the names of the trio, “Because the official ceremony will be conducted on Saturday by the Minister of Youth Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng”, this publication has it in good authority that those athletes will be some of those bestowed with a two medals task.
With only 12 days to go before the much awaited Games kick off, the contingent that will represent this country in Brazil is ready to bring at least two medals back home, according to the Chef De Mission, Moses Moruisi.
“Our best ever Olympic performance at the Olympic Games is a silver medal in 2012. For 2016, our plan is to beat that, both in terms of number and/or type of medal as well as the numbers of finals reached by our athletes.”
He continued to say, “For the 2016 Games, we are aiming for two (2) medals. Such performance, we are convinced will be the greatest gift Batswana could receive just ahead of celebrating 50 years of independence. Botswana will send a strong team of quality athletes,” he said.
To date team Botswana is made up of eight individual athletes that have met the qualification standards for Rio. Nijel Amos, Boitumelo Masilo, Isaac Makwala, Onkabetse Nkobolo, Baboloki Thebe, Karabo Sibanda, Christine Botlogetswe and Lydia Jele. These athletes are tasked with the responsibility to bring at least two medals especially as the country is already buzzing with BOTS 5O excitement.
“All qualified athletes are currently training in Germany, with Thebe and Sibanda in Poland for the U20 World Junior Championship,” Moruisi said.
He continued to add that from Germany, save for Makwala and Amos, the team will be returning to Botswana before departing for Brazil, where they will be based in Blumenau for the Pre-Games training camp at the Sesi Sports Complex.
The camp is said to have been identified through the Rio 2016 organizing committee and has been approved as conducive and safe for team Botswana by Ministry of Health, Botswana Embassy, Chef De Mission and BNOC.
With regards to the Zika Virus epidemic which threatens the lives of athletes who will be descending to Brazil for the Olympics, BNOC said that it is monitoring the situation.
“To prioritize the health of team Botswana, a delegation was dispatched to Brazil to survey the containment and management of the virus at the PGTC venue. The delegation reported back that the PGTC is of high standard and has all the necessary health measures in place to safe-guard team Botswana,” Moruisi clearified.
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.”