Struggling associations yet to receive grants
Notoriously cash-strapped at the best of times, Botswana’s National Sport Associations (NSAs) find their begging bowls emptier than usual.
Two months after they traditionally get their dues, the struggling sporting bodies – 36 in total – are yet to receive a single Thebe of their annual Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) grants for the current financial year.
Although they received P139 million worth of grants from the Sport Ministry in April, the Commission is yet to divvy out the kitty, much to the NSAs anguish.
Explaining the delay, BNSC CEO, Tuelo Serufho, admitted they were still fine-tuning the new model, introduced last year, which determines how they distribute the grants.
“Just like last year, we have grouped NSAs into four categories and much of the grant has gone to High Impact sports codes. We have three NSAs in the Middle High Impact category (cricket, rugby and tennis), which we have increased their funding because we see their efforts towards achieving our objective, which is employment creation. Even in terms of performance, they have improved greatly,” said Serufho.
Although they still don’t have a date for when the moneys will actually be paid, the sporting CEO told The Voice they intend to inform the NSAs of the slice of the pie they can expect this Wednesday (8th June).
“For NSAs to get full access to their grants, there is a certain criteria which they will have to meet, which among others include having activities which focus on long-term athlete development,” he stated, adding the BNSC have seen fit to give team sports that fall under the Middle Impact codes and beyond marginally higher funding due to the high costs involved.
Meanwhile, the prolonged wait for grants has hit the NSAs hard, with many having to cancel activities and struggling to fulfil national team commitments.
First to raise the alarm was Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) three weeks ago, when they battled to send a team to the Zone VI Karate Championships in Durban, South Africa due to limited funding.
Though BNSC subsequently assisted the ailing BoKA, only U/18 karatekas were bailed out to a tune of P200,000 while those over 18 were requested to raise P5,000 in self-sponsorship.
The boxing fraternity also finds itself on the ropes, with the association’s mouthpiece, Moitshepi Nkabiti, revealing the sport was at a standstill.
“Obviously we have been affected by this, because we were supposed to have our fortnightly interclub tournaments, but we couldn’t do anything. The last time we had a tournament was in the last week of March, throughout April there was nothing. We even failed to go to the Women’s World Championships!”
Judo has suffered a similar blow, having to pull out of the Cadet and Juniors Cup and South African Championships due to lack of Pula power.
“There are competitions which have passed, which we could have sent teams which we are sure they could have brought medals home but at the moment everything is slow,” Botswana Judo Federation Development Officer, Edwin Sello, told Voice Sport.
While swimming is not quite in hot water yet, the association’s spokesperson, Rosie Seleka, admitted it is tough to prepare for future events without knowing how much they stand to receive.
“Winter is not a busy period in terms of swimming events locally and regionally but we are preparing for international events, some of which are partly funded by FINA [swimming’s international governing body]. While we are hopeful that by the time local competition season starts, we would have received the grant, it is difficult to plan without knowing if and when we will receive the grant and how much we will get,” she said, adding they are building towards the World Championships, set for 18th June – 3rd July in Hungary; the NSAs, though, are hungry for their cash!