Botswana will not be represented in basketball and badminton in this year’s All Africa Games.
According to sources close to the developments, the two associations received correspondence from the commission last month (May) informing them of the situation.
The Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) is expected to take more than 200 athletes to the games depending on how many players will qualify across various sport codes.
Botswana Badminton Association spokesperson Barulaganye Ncube confirmed that they have received the letter from BNSC.
“We received a letter dated May 27 from the commission where they stated the criteria to select the codes which will represent Botswana at the 12th edition of African games. Amongst the reasons which they made us aware of is that priority is given to national sports associations with potential to bring medals and who have a realistic chance of qualifying and making it to podium finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he said.
According to Ncube, they won’t contest the decision since there is nothing they can do about it.
“We never had a chance to respond to the matter based on the reasons advanced by the commission, so we have no other option but to give up. In addition we have fines imposed on us by Badminton World Federation (BWF) for athletes who failed to show up at the Zambia and South Africa International tournaments. So where there are entries of players we cannot participate. We can only compete in team events so we will never compete in singles events until we settle the debt,” said Ncube.
Botswana Basketball Association President Boineelo Hardy has claimed ignorance to the matter, saying they never received communication of that kind from the sports commission. “It is not true, as far as I know I’m not aware of that letter or anything to do with Morocco games,” she said.
However, one issue which has raised eyebrows is that table tennis has been allocated six slots in the All Africa Games bound team while they have been inactive. In contrast badminton and basketball have been hosting tournaments locally and competing in regional games.
The BNSC Technical Director Bobby Gaseitsewe has acknowledged that they wrote to the two federations but did not kick them out of the All Africa Games. “Yes, it is true we have written them some letters sometime back in relation to their All Africa Games participation. But it is not like we have chased them out; what we were doing was to inform them that they have to justify their inclusion in the team that will represent the country in Morocco. It is not something which is concrete that they are automatically out but we are engaging them. Even athletics has to justify why we have to allocate them a certain number of slots in the team,” said Gaseitsewe.