Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) chiefs have shared their discontent with the laxity shown towards the school sport by the relevant stakeholders despite being the only robust development structure in the country.
According to the BISA calendar of events, the first term of schools is dedicated to athletics competitions, but a saving-gram from the Ministry of Education instructing teachers not to get into any external movements has impeded the whole idea. “In essence the circulation was stopping the teachers from sports activities because during competitions teachers travel to other schools,’’ Joshua Gaotlhobogwe, the President of BISA interpreted.
The saving-gram was circulated in December last year.
Although no details followed as to why the school sport especially athletics are put to a halt, it is said that a long feud between the government and teachers over their overtime allowances has again, came to the fore as the government cannot pay the teachers as per request from BOSETU, who are bargaining on behalf of the teachers.
Gaotlhobogwe said their schedule shows that they could have staged the competitions nine weeks back which means they have missed out an opportunity to source out other raw talent this year. “This year’s band will miss the chance to showcase their talent as there will be no where to compete,’’ Gaotlhobogwe added.
The BISA competitions have produced among others Amantle Montsho, Nijel Amos and the last year’s athletes who performed well in the Africa Youth Games (AYG). BISA has been the only development structure that has bore fruit, as the Re Ba Bona Ha initiative has been on the shadows.
With no competitions this year, Botswana will automatically miss out in the COSSASA competitions that will be hosted in Maseru Lesotho later this year. The COSSASA games have been used as an eye-opener to expose local athletes to the international atmosphere. The likes of the former 400m runner Galefele Moroko could attest to that as he was a product of the COSSASA before going on to shine at the (AYG).
The athletes were also to compete in the world championships in June but still, the lapses shown by the powers that be, has defeated that and a move that will in the long run haunt the country’s sport activity. However, the letter from ministry partly stated that they are prioritizing basic necessities like food and cleaning materials, something which has been lambasted by the sports commentators as “not convincing enough.’’
On the other hand the President of BAA Moses Bantsi has also echoed the same sentiments saying like BISA, they too will have no action this year, lamenting that because of that the athletics fraternity will be negatively impacted. He said they are also encircled by the inopportune situation as their athletes especially those in centers of sports excellence are not getting the necessary training as the teachers have been forced to “down tools”. “This is already getting the better of us our athletes are not training and they can lose form and perform badly outside,’’ Bantsi highlighted.
The junior Botswana team will leave for Tunisia this coming Monday for the Africa Junior Championships, but the team has never had any preparations ahead of the games with the issue of school sport negligence cited as to blame. BAA contends that, if BISA competitions had been held, the athletes would have at least been trained prior to leaving for Tunisia.
The BAA, though has failed to answer as to why it failed to organize preparatory competitions for the junior team ahead of the games, last weekend in Molepolole only elite athletes participated while the younger were not even at the event.
The recent ministry budget is said to have however catered for the ball sports.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.