Thabo Thamane, widely known as CEDA chief executive officer (CEO), is ready to usher in a new dawn for softball, after throwing his name in the ring for the Botswana Softball Association (BSA) presidency.
He will face current vice president, Katlholo Mosimanegape when softball goes for elections at the end of April. Thamane is not a lightweight as most people might think, as he used to play softball.
He told Mmegi Sport that growing up in Gaborone, he played softball and was one of the founders of KBL club, Panthers. Thamane was born in Gaborone on March 24, 1973, but originates from Kanye. “We used to train at Segoditshane Primary School grounds. It was a difficult period and we used to contribute to buy equipment and provide transport for players.
At that particular time, we were expected to compete against institutional teams that were given support by the government and mines,” he said. Thamane said the playing field was not level, which adversely affected softball for years.
Thamane said talented players got demoralised along the way because they had to fund themselves to compete. “They felt that if they belong to a local team, they have to contribute to play. They have to compete against somebody who slept in a hotel and was employed full-time to play softball. A lot of talent was lost along the way.
That motivated me to contest. We had a few exports all these years,” Thamane said. He argued that people have been in the softball structures preaching continuity, but cannot show its impact. Thamane said he wants softball to be a career, an alternative to formal employment. He said it is not about finding sponsorship but strategy.
“When I get into office I will device a strategy that looks into three aspects being financial sustainability, governance and operational effectiveness,” he said.
Thamane said governance is important because if any investor wants to assist, even if there is nothing wrong with that institution, for as long as they do not understand how things are done, they will be reluctant to put in money. “It is how you do things, how you conduct yourselves and implement projects,” he said.
The youthful CEO said lack of operational effectiveness and efficiency is when people read in the newspapers that a certain sporting code has submitted their books late. “It is lack of planning. I want to put up a strategy that in the end the nation and softball community can hold me accountable for the initiatives that I
There is nothing to hide,” he said.
Thamane said there must be development structures. He said when he was doing Form One at Gaborone Senior Secondary School in 1986, softball was progressing. He said at the moment, the development structures are non-existent.
“The current regime might be trying but the fact of the matter is that if they do not put much emphasis on a strategy that shows the value chain, all will be in vain. You must have the youth, upper youth, professionals and masters,” he said.
Thamane said financial sustainability is not about going to government seeking funds. He said softball must sell merchandise, “they must sell themselves, have endorsements and get the private sector to put money in it”. “I can do these things when you look at my background as CEDA CEO. When I took over, there was everything wrong with the institution in 2011. First of all, I looked at our processes and documented them.
I want to be able to produce a set of audited financial statements. Ask the current regime to provide you with BSA audited statements; I do not know if they exist,” Thamane said. He said softball should reduce reliance on government.
“When I take over, the first year I will lay the foundation, the second year we should see results and third year we should reap the rewards.
Then by the forth year, I would say I have done my part,” he said.
Thamane believes that softball must not depend on handouts, to avoid compromising their independence. He said the code must be able to make money, which is not happening now. “I want to move softball to greatness. Equality must be at the cornerstone of our campaign. It is a new dawn and my seniors like Mosimanegape have done their part. I respect him and we thank them.”
“They have tried under difficult circumstances. It is time to move on and we cannot do that when we preach continuity for the same things over again,” he said. Thamane said it is time for new hope and total transformation.
Thamane’s campaign team: Puso Kgosietsile (vice president), Tsuna Makwa (secretary general), Ryn Shagwa (treasurer), Macdonald Fologang (competitions organiser), Bobby Khupe (technical development officer), (Kelebogile Kelly Seitei), public relations officer.