Broke BNSC gets a shoestring budget
“We do not have a programme to finance the return of sport” -PS
Sporting codes affiliated to Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) are working round the clock to ensure that protocols are adhered to following the lifting of the ban on competitive post last week.
At the top of their major challenges is the struggle for financial resources, since BNSC has already announced that they have limited funds to disburse towards continuity of sport. BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho said they do not have the financial capacity to distribute resources right through to lower sporting structures and can only finance national sporting competitions. “We sympathize with lower structures but the sad reality is that we are in a recessive economy and government has been channeling money towards combating the covid-19 scourge,” said Serufho, further adding that the organization has very little to disburse and lower structures will have to see to it that they source funds for their programmes.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture development, Kago Ramokate said government allocate funds to BNSC who in turn are responsible for distribution to different sporting codes. While the resources shared with them might not be enough, the BNSC is expected to optimize usage, he added. “We do not have a programme to finance the return of sport. We are more into supporting the BNSC. Some hard decisions will have to be made regarding spending, depending on the situation on the ground as determined by the BNSC,” said Ramokate, reiterating that it is up to BNSC and sporting associations to look at their resources to ensure the success of the return of sport in the country.
The BNSC is grateful to the MYSC for heeding to their outcry for sporting activities to resume and has committed to ensuring the community acts in a manner that is covid-compliant. Serufho explained that they are ecstatic at the decision and have drafted and put together a set of guidelines for the safe return of sport. According to Serufho, the resumption of sport is in a phased approach and if protocols are followed, then spectators will return sooner than later. “We acknowledge to some extent that lower structures often depend on sales from spectators to generate income and hope for their sake that things roll out according to plan so they may be able to sustain themselves in that manner again,” he added.
The BNSC have started engaging with national sporting associations with educating them on the protocols and guidelines put in place before any competitions can commence. Serufho encouraged sport fanatics to bear in mind that the lifting of the ban does not suggest that the threat from the Covid19 pandemic has diminished. He warned that should sport lovers violate Covid-19 restrictions, the number of infections will increase again.
According to Serufho, the BNSC will play no part in availing sporting content to spectators at home via Streaming platforms. He said it is the responsibility of the different sporting codes to deal with matters of live streaming and other digital platforms. In addition, Ramokate buttressed this by stating that as government they have opened the doors to sport and put conducive conditions in place, and the rest is up to the different sporting codes and their associations to facilitate the nitty gritties of it all.
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Vice President Administration, Theetso Oabona said they are relieved that the curtain on sports has been lifted although it did not affect them completely as they had been competing but at a national level. He further said that this gives them an opportunity to qualify for major championships. “The problem is the announcement only came three weeks ahead of the end of the qualifiers for the Olympics so it does not help us much. Had it opened a lot earlier maybe we would have been able to get a larger pool of athletes,” he added.
BAA receives a bulk of its funding from the BNS and World athletics and are aware that BNSC might not have enough funds. However, they find comfort in knowing that their season is coming to an end. “The break should give us some time to work around source finding. We will continue to knock on doors of private sector companies with hope that they will help us,” he mentioned.