Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) continues to make positive strides in growing the credentials of its personnel.
Two of their officials – Motlhokomedi Tlhabano and WIM Tshepiso Lopang – were recently recognised by world chess governing body FIDE and appointed to various committees to serve the interests of chess. This follows the recent appointment of Dr. Marape Marape into FIDE Medical Commission last year. All the appointments are for a period of four years which means their respective terms will elapse in 2022.
BCF president Tlhabano has been selected to seat in the Chess in Education Commission as an ordinary member. Formerly known as the Chess in Schools Commission, the committee is mandated with using chess as an academic tool that can help learners improve academically.
“World Chess Federation saw it fit to nominate a member from Botswana in this commission following our aggressive development in recent years. During Tshenolo Maruatona tenure we saw chess grassroots development level growing exponentially producing some of the finest athletes like WFMs Naledi Marape and Besa Masaiti. We successfully won the Africa Schools Chess Championship for the past three years consecutively and we had our young players making it to the senior national team. For me I think FIDE believed Botswana has something to offer to the world,” said Tlhabano.
Tlhabano’s major role in the commission will be to work hand in hand with the nominated chairman to deliver objectives of the commission and take various robust chess development programmes to African states.
“It has been stated by the current FIDE president that more resources will be channeled towards this committee and as the committee members we are still waiting for the chairman and president’s roadmap; that’s when we will then embark on setting objectives for us and I believe I will give my utmost best to improve chess at world level because locally we have made our mark as BCF,” he said.
When asked how his appointment to the commission will benefit Botswana chess Tlhabano said, “With the previous minister of Education Unity Dow and former permanent secretary (PS) Grace Muzila we had started discussions on having chess in schools programme in Botswana and the PS had visited schools in Russia where the programme is fully in use and she was happy with it. So I believe the current minister will also support me to have this programme which will see chess becoming part of the curriculum at primary school level. Surely this will not only improve chess in Botswana but also academic performance. Also for me being in the commission Botswana will benefit by receiving training materials as well as training of primary school teachers,” said Tlhabano.
WIM Lopang has been roped in as a councilor into the FIDE Planning and Development Commission. Lopang is also a board member of African Chess Confederation by the virtue of being the vice president which means she is Africa’s representative at world level. The commission is responsible for developing capacity and capabilities of national chess federations.
“FIDE needs to build effective continental bodies and by extension create a sustainable and stronger sporting body. During this period of my appointment my key role will be to assist in the implementation of projects which form part of FIDE development programme. The team will evaluate and monitor the use of funds and resources allocated to national federations for different programmes and the success of those programmes. Consultation is going to be done and I’m glad that members like Lesotho and Eswatini are coming up so well in development,” said Lopang.