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BAA wants Africa body intervention

RISING STAR: Karabo Sibanda

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) top brass led by Glody Dube has appealed to their overseer Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) to help them overcome some thorny issues which they say could impede the growth of athletics in Botswana.

BAA tabled their grievances at the CAA congress held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, from the 1st to the 3rd of this month just before the Africa Junior Championships (AJC).

The issue of school-sport negligence by the relevant stakeholders which has seen this country missing out an opportunity to source out new talents from schools was the main cry from the association. The local athletics body pleaded for help for from CAA on the issue, saying this could dent their ambitions of seeing the sport growing. They contended that athletics was detrimental to the sports fraternity since Botswana was put on the map by the likes of Amantle Montsho and Nijel Amos through the sport.

“The thing is, we are the custodians of athletics in Botswana and we don’t want to see the sport dying more especially the development aspect of the game so we have to share with our counterparts the situation here so that they can give us some suggestions on how we can rise above these issues,’’ Dube said.

School-sport negligence has left the local athletics in disarray as they even sent the junior athletes to AJC unprepared, because it was through BISA and BOPPSA that athletes were prepared physically and mentally which made BAA work more easier especially when they selected national teams for international competitions.

This has also went on to hinder the local junior athletes from participating in the COSSASA championships which has been used by BAA to expose them to the international stage as well as the World youth Championships that will be staged in June.

The recent mushrooming of marathons was also raised as another issue of concern. BAA decried the increasing number of marathon races in the country saying the organizers are normally unaware of the athletics regulations and their events usually clash with that of BAA, and because they have the financial muscle they tend to attract more athletes leaving the association events poorly attended.

Dube said they have again tabled this gripe to the congress so that they can know about the crises that besiege the local association. “Like I said we went there to alert people about the current situation in Botswana and we just wanted them to help us and we are happy they helped us.’’ In the BAA AGM last month, the President said that they are likely to face sanctions from their mother-bodies and this could be a calculated move to avoid the wrath of CAA and IAAF.

Dube confirmed that the congress has helped them as they will in the coming weeks go to South Africa on a bench-marking exercise. “The congress has helped us a lot, we will be heading to South Africa so that we can learn from them as to how they overcame all these situations, we don’t want to see sport dying out.’’

The Vice President said he would travel with the technical committee to South Africa. Still at the congress the BAA agreed with CAA about the newly revised anti-doping regulations before going to elect the executive committee.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

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.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

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.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

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.”

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