Minister of Finance and Skills Development, Thapelo Matsheka will be delivering his maiden budget speech following his appointment last year post general elections. But as always people from all corners of life will be looking with a hawk’s eye to see how much each sector or ministries will get. The Botswana sports fraternity just like all the other divides will be expecting much more so that this is one of the busiest years ever since it the Olympic year. As much as Botswana athletes are currently struggling to qualify for the summers games which are slated for Tokyo ,Japan there are many issues that many wish can be addressed by the 2020/21 financial budget and projections.
Though it is very impossible for the ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture development to get a lion’s share or at least get in the top 5 ministries with the largest shares most sports administrators are of the believe that issues of improved funding for sports, building of sports facilities around the country and improving national teams welfare should be addressed greatly in this financially year.
Another important aspect of this financial year is that with less than four months to the Olympics, issues of funding the preparations of the games will be dealt with more so that during the last financial year government only managed to spare P15 million which was far much below the required amount .However it remains to be seen if an additional funding will be directed towards the games. Also the budget speech delivery comes at a time in which government has made a commitment to deliver on 10 mini stadia across various villages amongst them Moshupa, Tonota and Mmadinare just to mention a few.
This publication took to the streets to speak to various sports administrators and sportspersons on their expectations from the budget. And this is what they had to say.
Botlhale Phaphane-Botswana Athletics Association President
“Very little expectations, we are currently struggling to qualify the team to the Tokyo Olympics. But I’m hoping for conclusion of the 10 stadia across the country and accreditation of those facilities with World Athletics standards .There is also a need for us to streamline sporting codes according to performance and fund most performing national sports associations,”
Kudzanani Motswagole-Botswana Table Tennis Association President
‘We expect nothing else but the best, we are aware of the fact that we sports people we share national cake with other sectors of the government. We want to see sports development which speaks to the ordinary sports persons. Sharing national cake will mean that we will not see what we desire in one financial year so we are patient, at the same time very bold about the desire to see sport developing so that it contributes to employment creation,”
Tshepo Bathai-Botswana Karate Association President
“Botswana sport is not progressing much because of lack of fit for purpose sports facilities. I believe the time is now to develop sports centers across the country that can prepare our athletes for international games. Another issue that needs to be looked into is constituency sports program, this program is given more funds than BNSC and BNSC combined. However its contribution towards sports development is still a challenge .From last Sports Pitso National Sports Associations were asked to propose how they can improve the program , I do hope that invitation is still open”
Monica Alfred-Volleyball Player
“My expectations are to build better infrastructure that will accommodate all sporting codes. For instance we need indoor halls for sporting codes like netball and volleyball. More money has to be sent to development such that we have robust youth development structures which will churn out players for us,”