Over the years, the so-called minority sports codes have maad this country proud internationally despite the huddles they go through in their day-to-day administration of their respective codes.
Botswana is a football nation as the code is the most popular sport in every corner of this landlocked country.
When the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) divides its cake amongst its close to 40 affiliates, football always gets the lion’s share in terms of annual grants. This is despite the fact that football is not doing well.
On the other hand, the minority codes have proved themselves over the years that they are a force to reckon with. Their performance regionally and internationally has not changed the mind set at BNSC because they are still treated as second-class citizens when it comes to the distribution of the pie.
It is an open secret that athletics is by far the best performing code as it has produced a world champion, the first Olympic Games medallist and African champion. They continue to improve and the future looks bright. On the other hand chess has shown tremendous growth as it has introduced the game in primary schools across the country. It has left its mark in the neighbouring SADC member states.
Another code that is doing well is cricket. The progress is evident, as the game has been introduced in government schools, the inclusion of girls. We also argue that netball has progressed over the years although there is still a room for improvement. Few years ago, they managed to host the Africa zone World Cup qualifiers.
It also has shipped a number of players abroad, particularly to the Singapore Premier League, which is the evidence of the local game’s growth.
The code has been dogged by the absence of league sponsorship over the years, which has the effect of taking off some gloss as there are no incentives, particularly with the financially rewarding constituency league luring away players. Motorbike sport can also be added to the codes that are doing well internationally. This week we witnessed a hero’s welcome of our own Ross Branch who did relatively well at the Dakar Rally. Branch raised the blue/black and white flag high by attaining position one in the rookie motorbike category and position 12 overall at the just ended Dakar Rally in Peru.
Motorbike sport is not one of the popular codes in Botswana but Branch’s individual performance shows that with the right support from the BNSC and sponsors we can conquer the world.
Hence we advocate for the support of these so-called minority sport codes just like we support football.
“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.”
- Tony Dungy