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Ntimbale challenge returns

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After a three-year hiatus, Ntimbale Challenge is back again in Masingwaneng on 28th and 29th February.

The exciting annual event staged at Ntimbale Dam covers the villages of Masingwaneng, Mambo, Gulubane, Botalaote, Sechele, Makaleng, Matenge and Toteng in the North East District.

According to the event’s founder, Oteng Mokowe, the Ntimbale Challenge was conceptualised in 2013, but they had to wait until 2016 to stage the first event.

“I had to delay the event because most people thought I was using it to campaign for the 2014 General elections,” explained Mokowe.

In 2016 however, the long anticipated event kicked off in style with over 20 riders competing, and cultural nights held on Friday and Saturday.

“After the event, royals from the involved villages approached me with the idea of using the event to raise money for the Village Trust Fund. I gave them a go ahead to host the event the following year, and all the money made was handed over to the village leadership,” Mokowe told Voice Sport.

He said together with three others, they had to pop out P20 000 each to sponsor the event.

However to his disappointment, the Ntimbale challenge did not take place in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“This meant we had to come back as the originators of the event and revive it. I can assure you, this year it’s going to be big,” said an excited Mokowe.

He further told Voice Sport that they started the event to promote tourism and to boost the economy of the north east by using the facilities available in the area.

“We’ve increased activities and have included camel rides, hiking and canoe racing. We are also trying to get skydivers – our challenge is that the country has only two dive masters who will be engaged on the said dates,” said Mokowe adding that they’re however still hopefully of getting the divers at least for the official opening day on Friday.

According to Mokowe, bikers will do two 50km laps on a treacherous track starting from Ntimbale dam, going past Vukwi, Gulubane, Matenge and back to the starting point popularly known as The Ark.

The official opening, expected to be performed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, will be on Friday 28th in Masingwaneng, followed by a cultural night featuring Dikakapa, Dipela Tsa Ga Kobokwe, City Polka, Matambanadzo Cultural Group, Kenny Mackenzie, while negotiations are still ongoing to bring on board Tjilenje Tje Ngwao.

There’ll be another cultural night on Saturday and a music festival at If Not Why Not Club in Makaleng featuring the likes of La Timmy and DJ Gouveia.

“We’ve also invited revered Muvhango actor Macdonald Tshifhiwa Ndou populalrly known as ‘KK’ who’ll hold motivational sessions with Francistown based actors and drama groups from schools in the area,” revealed Mokowe.

This event will be carried out in liaison with Botswana Tourism Organisation and Water Utilities Corporation.

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Sports

School sports in doubt

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Government owes teachers over P30 million

There’s uncertainty over whether teachers will honour a calendar of events for sports activities scheduled for this first term of the year.

Schools should be gearing for athletics competitions, but there has been no correspondence from the Ministry of Basic Education.

Both Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA), have already submitted their calendar of events and are still awaiting a response from the Ministry.

However with an outstanding balance of over P32 million, a grant meant to cover both sports activities held in July 2019, the Ministry finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

Responding to a question posed by Ngami Member of Parliament, Caterpillar Hikuama, Assistant Minister, Nnaniki Makwinja revealed that the Ministry is yet to release funds for the 2019 calendar of events.

Hikuama had asked the Minister whether she was aware that teachers who were engaged in sporting activities in March and July 2019 under the agreement that they will be paid an allowance of P500 per day are yet to be paid.

The MP also wanted to know how this delayed payment will affect their future participation in the core-curricular activities and eventually national sports performance.

In response Makwinja said that those who participated in the athletics competitions in March 2019 have been paid by the associations, a statement that was confirmed by both BISA and BOPSSA.

She further stated that her Ministry is yet to assist the association with grants to cover both sports activities held in July, 2019 which amounts to P32,154,671.00.

“Our Ministry expects to have paid subventions to the associations before the end of July 2020, so that the teachers can be paid. The delay, as you all know, is caused by funding constraints,” said Makwinja.

She further said it is possible that some teachers may choose not to participate in sports this year.

“However, we can assure you that, many of our teachers are very dedicated, passionate and trained sports coaches who will continue to support sport in schools unconditionally.” she said.

It is the above statement that has left most sports teachers seething with anger. They immediately took to social media to condemn what they termed exploitation by government.

In an interview with Voice Sport, BOPSSA President Busani Segweni said they are not sure whether they’ll be any athletics competitions as is the norm in the first term.

“Our calendar of events is ready and we’re only awaiting the Ministry to tell us how we are going to run the event, and how teachers will be paid,” said Segweni.

Segweni said usually the Ministry would state her terms on how teachers would be paid for their efforts and as teachers: “They can take or leave the offer.”

“However most of the time teachers’ll accept the offer as it is and then demand payment later. No one is forcing them to agree with the terms of engagement from the Ministry,” he said.

Likewise, Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) President, Jonas Gaothobogwe said they are also awaiting a signal from the Ministry.

“Teachers are ready to perform their core-curricular activities, but we’re waiting for the ministry who funds all sporting activities,” he said.

Gaothobogwe said he was concerned because the ministry still owes teachers over P22 million in unpaid allowances, and is yet to pay the 2019 subvention for sports activities.

“This makes funding the 2020 activities a doubt,” he said.

The BISA president said not having schools sports activities will have a negative impact on national teams performance.

“Remember in 2018 the Ministry failed to fund our trip for the Confederation of Southern African Schools Sports Associations (COSASSA) Games in Windhoek Namibia. We also missed out on the same games in Zambia last year. Should this happen for the third year running it’d be catastrophic for our sport,” he said.

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Sports

Back with a bang

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“BNSC and BNOC should merge”~ Sebego

Newly appointed Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson, Tebogo-LebotseSebego wants, both BNSC and BNOC (Botswana National Olympic Committee) to merge.

In an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday, the newly appointed sports administrator said the merger of the two bodies would serve sports better.

“There would be better coordination and more managed collaboration from grassroots to elite. So on the face of that view, I’m inclined to support a one sport body institution,” said Sebego.

An experienced administrator and a former national team player who served netball at various levels for 35 years, Sebego brought the curtains down on her illustrious career last year.

She resigned as the Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President in 2017 after 10 years at the helm, and also stepped down as Africa Netball President last year after nine years.

The recipient of the Presidential Certificate of Honour and the AUSC Region 5 Meritorious Service Award, Sebego took over from Tsoseletso Magang who temporarily held the position until the former’s appointment this Monday.

Initially, Sebego was appointed by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare as an expert in Communications and Sports Administration in December.

It was during her presidency that Botswana hosted the Netball World Youth Cup in 2017 (NWYC2017), the first International Netball Federation World Cup in Africa.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon, Sebego said she was excited with the appointment and wished to sincerely thank her colleagues in the Board for their vote of confidence.

“It’s an honor to get a seat at the table where crucial decisions to craft the future of Botswana sport will be formulated,” said a visibly elated Sebego.

The selfless administrator told Voice Sport that the only way for athletes to excel is to proactively manage and nurture an ecosystem that supports excellence holistically.

“When the system from technical preparations to mental health are intentional, we should see better results, Sebego said with some conviction.

“This is an area I would like to see better managed. Having sat on an international board of a sports body allows me to share my acquired skills and experience on the duty of care the Board has towards sports,” she said.

On how she feels about her critics who see her appointment as recycling of sports personnel, Sebego
said it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to find her worthy of the BNSC appointment.

“Views are relative and influenced by different interpretations to issues based on people’s own realities,” fired Sebego.

“In my reality, I gave netball the best of my abilities at most times, I’ve no life shattering regrets on how the sport was positioned when I was President,” Sebego concluded calmly.

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Sports

BSSA ready for CANA Zone IV tourney

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Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) which was tasked with the hosting of the 2020 CANA Zone IV tournament has declared their readiness to pull off a successful event.

CANA Zone IV Championships are a biennial tournament organised by African Swimming Confederation.

The tournament which was hosted by South Africa in 2016 will now be in Gaborone from 20th to 23rd February at the University of Botswana swimming pool.

At least 320 athletes and team officials from 13 countries are expected to descend in to the country for the biggest swimming event in the region.

In an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday afternoon, Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairperson, Kgaotsang Mathews said preparations for the tournament are at an advanced stage.

“We are more than ready to host this showdown, logistics such as transport for swimmers from points of entry to hotel and vise versa is ready. This was made easy because they’ll be housed at Cresta Lodge,” she said.

African nations that are expected to grace this occasion are Angola, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Madacasgar, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, Uganda ,Tanzania and the host country Botswana.

The competing age groups for this tournament are U12, U13/14, U15/16, U17 to 24, Masters 25 to 44 and 45 years and over.

For her part, Team Botswana Manager Montle Jack broke down the recent Stanbic and Wimpy sponsorship.

She said both Wimpy and Stanbic Bank have contributed a total sum of P450 000 which will be used to dress athletes, and also for the welfare of swimmers who’re expected to do well at the upcoming swimming tournament.

Other sponsors for this sports showpiece include Cresta Hotels, Coca Cola, Spar Botswana, Haskins, Evo Branding and Nashua Botswana.

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