Basketball has always been Boineelo Hardy’s passion. She started with it from a young age and her love for it has deepened as she grew up. This explains why it didn’t take a lot of encouragement for her to run and claim the presidency of the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) in 2016. When her term ends in three years’ time, her ambition is to see Botswana teams playing quality basketball as well as the association producing quality players. However, one year into her term, Hardy is not happy with how things are going. Though she is adamant that she will effect change by the end of her term she said things are currently moving slower that she had wanted. She attributes this slow momentum to the lack of a secretariat which leads to them being thin on the ground and unable to push the association’s administrative and technical mandate. This, she said, has been worsened by the preparations for the on-going Zone VI Basketball Championships Cup which has diverted their energy and focus. According to Hardy, not having a secretariat hinders the association’s growth and development. She said with a permanent person in office who will be focused on administrative and technical issues, they will see growth. It is for this reason that in November when BBA hold its AGM Hardy will propose that the association creates a working secretariat. She said even if only one person can be hired to focus full time on running the affairs of the association, it will help. She has observed that mostly when an association run wholly on volunteerism a lot of work does not get done in time. She said since people are volunteering, they only do the work when they have free time and there is nothing that can be done about it. She said BBA therefore needs a fulltime individual who will be working at the office. “It is for this that when we get to the AGM I will be put before the affiliates that we have a fulltime person who will take care of the association’s business so that we can push our mandate,” she said. This has proved to be the right thing even in other sporting codes with Botswana Cricket Association being a typical example. With fulltime personnel BCA has seen tremendous growth in recent years. This is what Hardy is aiming to achieve for her code as well.
When she was elected president in November 2016, Hardy’s intention was to revive and take the game of basketball to the people. To work towards this, the executive committee is already working on a public relations strategy on how to take the game to the people. The recently concluded 3x3 Basketball programme that was played across the country has been identified as one of the ways of taking basketball to the people. “The 3x3 Basketball programme will help us to take this game further to the people so that it is at the top of their minds. It is a street game and can be played anywhere so we will get to many people,” she said. The other thing that is at the top of the list for Hardy to achieve is to set up a basketball indoor facility. She said currently they do not have a facility and are struggling. She said having a facility it will be easy for the association to push its development strategies as well as pull more people to their games. Hardy said for basketball to grow it is important to have a very good grassroots development. With grassroots development being her passion the president revealed that during her tenure she will be looking to establish youth leagues for U-18 teams. “We have to create a competitive system for these youngsters so that they can build further on their talents and hone their skills more,” said Hardy. She identified the 3x3 Basketball programme as one tournament that will further help with development of players. For coordinated development Hardy said it is important to have BISA representative to sit in the BBA executive committee to help with player development. This is what she will also be putting forward to the affiliates at the November AGM. For all these to be accomplished there is great need for a financial partner or sponsor which is very difficult to get in Botswana. At the moment some sporting codes do not have any running league as they do not have sponsors.
Even the basketball league has been running without a sponsor for some time. Hardy, however, vowed that she will find a sponsorship for the association to be able to better their performance. “I have realised that finding a sponsor is very difficult. However, if you package your needs very well to prospective sponsors you will get a deal. We will be working very hard to package our product so that it is appealing to the sponsors going forward,” she said. Hardy believes that the on-going Zone VI Basketball Champions Cup preliminary games will help take the game of softball further to the people. She acknowledged that the tournament will help them to push their agenda of growing basketball locally and regionally. With many sponsors having come on board to support BBA in the on-going tournament it is believed that this is the beginning of great things coming for basketball in terms of sponsorship. She said in future she will be looking for Botswana to host another regional tournament, this time being a youth tournament so that they are also exposed to the game more.