It has not been an easy journey for Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) in their quest to host the 2019 Africa senior karate championship (UFAK).
At first BOKA was told to forget about hosting the event as the karate body had failed to follow laid down Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) hosting procedures. However, BNSC later changed its mind and allowed preparations for the event to continue.
Last week, the 2019 UFAK Local Organising Committee (LOC) was dissolved at the request of the BNSC. BOKA president, Tshepho Bathai said the LOC would be reconstituted at the end of February.
“We are waiting for the BNSC board to approve the committee. They are at liberty to add or subtract the numbers. We dissolved the LOC at the request of BNSC,” he said. Bathai said the hosting budget stands at P3 million and so far they have raised P2.1 million. He admitted that BNSC does not have funds to cover the budget.
He said BOKA had only requested P900, 000 from BNSC to cover costs of accommodation and venue.
“We do not want to touch our grant, but it would be better if it was increased by 50% in the next financial year.” Bathai said they expect over 40 countries to compete in the championships with each nation, expected to inject at least P500, 000 into the local economy.
Meanwhile, World Karate Federation (WKF) and Commonwealth Karate Federation (CKF) presidents are expected to visit Botswana next month.
“We expect them to arrive in Gaborone in March. They would be here to tour venues and hotels that would be accommodating athletes and officials. They are coming with technical and referees commissions. That means the world would be watching us and we must use the visit to our advantage and sell the event,” Bathai said.