WILL HE BE AMONG THE CHOSEN THREE? Karabo Sibanda has an outside chance
Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) technical teams’ think tanks will have a hard time deciding on the final three athletes to represent the country at Rio 2016.
As of now four 400m runners have qualified for the World’s biggest sporting showpiece. Baboloki Thebe, Isaac Makwala, Karabo Sibanda and Onkabetse Nkobolo have all qualified for the Brazil hosted multisport event.
However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) clearly states that each country should be represented by only three athletes per category.
“More athletes may still qualify for that event and each country is limited to maximum of three athletes. Therefore the final three shall be determined at the end of the qualification period,” BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho highlighted, but the question is who will be chopped?
The Ramonaka born Thebe has been on a scintillating form as evidenced by last weekend’s 44:22 seconds finish. Makwala on the other hand is performing satisfactorily registering impressive times that helped him secure a third spot at the ongoing IAAF Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco.
The dreaded axe is expected to fall on either Nkobolo or Sibanda if their current records are anything to go by. The latter, who qualified last weekend has not convinced this season despite his 45:40 record time.
As for the Spain based Nkobolo, he may still have to show cause why he should be included in the team because his times are not convincing. This past Wednesday at a Dakar meet he recorded 46:30.
While these four athletes are still optimistic about their prospects of representing this nation ahead of the golden jubilee celebrations, all is not lost for other athletes wishing to qualify.
Leaname Maotoanong is the lone hopeful who can further complicate the puzzle for BNOC and BAA. Last week he clocked 46:33, a margin below the qualification requisite.
It is a foregone conclusion that Zachariah Kamberuka is injured and he will not attempt to qualify for Rio. As for the fringe Pako Seribe, the train has already left the station, he must wait until next season to return to the track. The qualification curtain will only close on the 11th of July.
The moment of truth is nearing for both selectors and athletes – because the beat must go on – but commentators are of the view that only those with the best finishing time should make the top three.
This conundrum may be disheartening for athletes because it is never an nice experience to be dropped at the last minute ahead of an event like the Olympics. On the other side it will be a delight for others who will avoid the chop as they will be part of the team that will have to bring two medals to Botswana before the hyped 50 years celebrations.
However impeccable sources say it will not be doom and gloom for those who will fall short in the 400m as they will be redirected to be 4X400m relay team.
Botswana is eyeing the two medals available in this categories and nothing will be taken for granted as those who qualify are expected to specialize in only the event they qualified for. This will mean that the trio that will qualify for the 400m will not be distracted by the relay event.
Nigel Amos, Makwala, Nkobolo and Kamberuka have been the core members of the relay team and it is expected that this time around there will be an adjustment on the team. The 400m race has seen six Botswana athletes qualifying including the female duo of Lydia Jele and Christine Botlogetswe.
Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.
The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.
The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.
Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.
It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.
He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.
Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.
The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.
The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.
This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.
BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.
Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.
If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.
There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.
Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.
As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.
The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.
Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.
Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour. Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.
The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation. On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”
The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.