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BOKA Remains Hopeful Of Hosting UFAK

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) still believe they can host the UFAK 2019 Africa Karate Championship PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) has vowed to do everything in their power to be granted permission by the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to host the UFAK 2019 Africa Karate Championship.

The delegates reached an agreement during an Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) that was held at The Big Five lodge in Mogoditshane over the weekend.

BOKA received a communication from UFAK on hosting the championship on April 18 last year. The opportunities were for 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions. The Association informed BNSC about their interest in hosting the championship in April 21, 2017.

They were advised to consider 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and BOKA was granted permission to host the 2019 edition.  The OGM was informed that on October 25, 2018, BNSC board rejected the hosting of UFAK next year.

BOKA president, Tshepho Bathai said the only reason given was that BNSC did not have funds.

“In their response, they informed us that they did not have the P950,000 that we had requested. That is the official communication from BNSC.  What is important is to explain how karate operates.

“The current BOKA executive committee found this interest to bid in the office. BNSC was informed about the interest to host and we could not do hosting document and plans before the set date. It is how our sport code is run and we are not misbehaving,” he said.

Bathai said they were cautioned not to touch 2018 because there were other activities that were already on schedule. He said they agreed on 2019, which UFAK agreed of which they communicated back to BNSC. He said BNSC assisted BOKA to bid. The BNSC also assisted BOKA with applications for VISA for visiting UFAK team for inspection of facilities and meetings.

“We have suggested names for the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to BNSC. We have not received a response on who is in BNSC

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good books and who is not. There is a compilation of potential sponsors that we had listed in the hosting plan. World Karate Federation (WKF) has signed an agreement with us that they would provide us with equipment when we host,” Bathai told the delegates.

He said they were to sign the agreement during the World Championship in Spain but he could not travel because they have to sort the issue first. Bathai said they have presented BNSC hosting committee and that could not happen if they had not followed procedure.

Bathai said BNSC has requested BOKA to stop everything regarding preparing for UFAK 2019 and VISA processing of people who were to come for site visiting from December 1-5. He said they had planned to launch the LOC and event on December 4.

“We have stopped everything as per the instruction. We are still negotiating with them. We do not have a choice,” he said.

Botswana Hayashi Ha chairperson, Mpho Bakwadi warned that if they go back to UFAK and inform them that they are no longer hosting, there would be implications.

“Botswana would be suspended and our names would be tarnished. The longer we wait, countries are already preparing to come for the championship here. They are not like us who do things last minute,” he said.

Bakwadi said it is important to give BNSC a deadline to decide on the future of hosting. He said the championship is important because it is an Olympic qualifier. BOKA last hosted UFAK in 2002.

 Meanwhile, Bathai said there is a deadline and they have also informed UFAK about their financial challenges.



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