The four-year term of the current Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) executive committee is coming to an end this coming weekend. Already four candidates are lining up for the baton that will be left by the outgoing president Tshenolo Maruatona. The four – Cinky Boikanyo, Mothokomedi Thabano, Kenneth Boikhutshwane and Kefilwe Miti – are vying to take charge of the code and continue growing its legacy. Though the contesting candidates acknowledge what the Maruatona led executive community had accomplished, they feel the committee lacked in some aspects that could have been crucial in the further development of the game in Botswana. Some of the aspects that were singled out are the issue of finances, strategy and the national league. Below the candidates discuss why the federation should entrust them with leadership.
Boikanyo said his priority if elected to the position of the president will be to review the BCF strategy. He said this will be to see what have been attained and what has not. According to him, this will determine the next move. “If you look at the strategy not much objectives were achieved in the specified time. As a result, a review needs to be done to take stock,” he said. Boikanyo, who was part of the team that formulated the strategy, said when elected into office there will be no need to bring many new things because if implemented the strategy would grow the game of chess in country. He pointed out that what needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency is the federation’s financial status. “We need to come up with ways of expanding the revenue base of the federation so that we can be able to implement the objectives of the strategy,” he explained. He said should he be elected the president, he will push for the federation to engage in revenue generation activities such as having companies that will help expand the revenue. “The money from Botswana National Sport Commission is not sufficient so we have got to have a business that will help us generate more income for our programmes,” said Boikanyo. He said to further address the financial problems he will be looking to set aside 10% of the money from BNSC to buy shares in the Botswana Stock Exchange to try and raise money for the federation.
When he takes over the baton Boikanyo’s aims to increase the number of professional coaches in the game and advance youth development. Hosting of high profile tournaments is one of his major objectives, saying this will help take the national players to the world. He will re-establish the national league which has not been there for years.
Why should he be voted?
Boikanyo said people should vote for him because he believes he has got the required experience needed to run the association. He said since he was one of the people who crafted the federation’s strategy he has an edge over other candidates. “Also as the founding president of Dynamic Chess Club, I have the experience needed for this position,” he explained. As one of his objectives as president is to increase the number of coaches he said his qualification as FIDE Trainer will come in handy in this course. He pointed out that he is the number one coach in Botswana by title so far and he will be able to roll-out what he understands better.
Thabano has been part of the out-going executive serving as the Development Director. His work gave him the opportunity to work with youth in terms of development. This is the area that BCF has shown some strength in the past as a number of promising youngsters have been produced through the robust grassroots development programme. Thabano told this publication that he decided to stand for the position of presidency because he wants continuity in the federation. “I want all this work that we have been doing as the out-going committee to be continued because if someone new comes in they might disturb the follow.” He also said he wants to make chess an inclusive sporting code by roping in the disabled persons to be part of this game.
He said when elected the president, top of his to do list will be growth in chess players. Thabano said the players need to be taken through different growth stages that will see them end up at par with their counterparts in the rest of the world. He said growing the players will help to grow the status of the game in Botswana in the international arena. “Right now when we look at our players and compare them to those in Egypt we are very low. This needs to be changed so that Botswana can grow and compete with the top countries in the continent and the world,” said Thabano.
Boikhutshwane who is the FIDE Arbiter said he wants to become BCF president so that he can grow the federation. He said under the out-going executive committee much was not done as the strategy was not implemented fully. He said the production of arbiters and trainers which are crucial to the development of chess has been neglected. He also pointed out that the committee failed to run a national league which would give players more game time that help them grow further. Boikhutshwane said it is for this reason that he wants to be elected president to put this in place. He said he can easily fit into the office as he possesses deep knowledge about chess. Boikhutshwane said he has what it takes to make a good player, a good official and trainer as he has gone through all these. He believes that his business and marketing background will come in handy in solving the federation’s financial problems. “I know what sponsors want in order to invest in the game so this will help us deal with the financial problems that the federation always find itself in,” he said. He said he will utilise his marketing background to increase sponsorship and revenue streams to P4 million.
Elected to this position Boikhutshwane said his priority will be to produce qualified personnel – 400 trainers, arbiters and administrators in the next four years. “This is to ensure that the youth is taught right from the young age,” he said. This, he said, will also be in line with his objective of have 40 new chess clubs in the country. Next in the line is the revival of the national league, which will be made in such a way that it is played in different regions to help reduce costs for the teams. Finances will also be a priority to him, saying in the past there has been great reliance on sponsors only. Boikhutshwane said there is a great opportunity for BCF to tap on the donor market.
Miti, who used to serve in BCF executive committee until 2009, believes that he still can do more to help grow the game of chess locally. He previously served as the Secretary General of the BCF. Top of his list, he said, will be player welfare and development. Miti pointed out that for the country to grow in chess the players need to be well taken care of and given proper support at all times. He said a happy player always does well and that will help the association attract more sponsors. Finances, just like for the others, are a concern for Miti. He complained that the current committee was relaxed when it came to sponsorships. He said to get sponsors negotiations needed to be started well in time not only a few weeks before competitions. “We should go out to sponsors in time. We should also take time to learn their financial performance so that when we negotiate we know what we are talking about,” he said. He also said that to effect changes it should start from within, with those in committee working hard to see to it that the federation goes forward.
It looks like the four candidates have a lot in common as all of them agree that there is a need for the national league, production of trainers and working on improving financial flow at the association. They are all looking to further improve the association.