The year 2015 should bring us good fortune in sport. We should win more international medals, be more organised, kill strife and pettiness within sporting codes and just have more good stories to tell than sad ones. A lot, therefore, rests on leaders of sport to drive positive national agendas for the good of their codes and country. It is for this reason that leadership of Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) should be well prepared to move mountains this year and advance work of their members. It is the BNSC in particular that as a leader in advancing sport development should inspire more confidence in its work. The council has had no CEO since the departure of Percy Raditladi. The delay in having a substantive CEO taking over has been blamed on the review of the Sports Policy which has since been approved by Parliament and now awaits the President’s signature (if he has not signed by now). The new policy comes with enhanced role for the BNSC and hence understandably the new CEO has appointed on the basis of the changes made. That notwithstanding, it has taken long to have this vacancy filled. Acting appointments often are indecisive and hesitant, making it very difficult for the council to deliver on its critical mandate even as stipulated in the old policy. Affiliates and even council staff’s welfare could be compromised under this climate. Solly Reikeletseng – the BNSC chairperson – should therefore act decisively to fill this critical vacancy as soon as possible. The implementation of the BNSC’s Vision and its critical programmes require that the secretariat be fully primed for delivery and it is only with the substantive leader that real progress would be made.
The BNSC should this year increase pressure on affiliates to develop their strategic plans. It should go out its way to demand and enforce the development of such, including where necessary providing the necessary technical assistance to codes to develop these. These thereafter should be main anchor of all codes’ work. Such plans should form the basis for which codes request for funding from the BNSC. The strategic reviews will direct whether particular codes should really continue wasting national resources by engaging in international competitions while in actual fact they should be more focused in talent development locally. We have been embarrassed by codes that take our ill-prepared youngsters to international competitions when they should rather be developing them further. This is not even good for the players themselves; they end up losing interest in the sport due to the humiliation they faced. That is so since no counselling is provided for them after the humiliation. The BNSC must be uncompromising in refusing to fund competitions that we are not ready to compete in. Only strategic plans will show when a code will have developed talent enough to be able to compete for the country and not embarrass it.
The BNSC in 2015 should also demand that codes set up anti-doping programmes. We cannot afford to have our athletes being ruined in their prime due to the cancerous doping tendencies. While others fall into the trap unaware; others deliberately enhance their performance with a variety of drugs. The BNSC and BNOC should take proactive leadership in this, and ensure that our sport remains clean and untainted.
The BNSC should also set performing standards for leaders of various sport codes and make them sign up for such. This will create legitimacy when the BNSC cracks the whip and suspends those leaders who fail in their duties. At worst, a whole affiliate should be suspended if it does not meet the minimum standards of accounting and performing. As a leader of sport, the BNSC should not be too apologetic even when leaders of codes fail to account or are clearly failing in their work – bringing disrepute to the whole sport family. We should set high standards and adhere to them. This is what will lift our performance as a country.