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Sport in 2014 - Time to introspect

Itís that time of the year when we make reflections on what we achieved in the year. Itís that time of the year when we self- introspect and look back at our achievements, failures and what we could have done better or different. An unbiased self-assessment usually gives one an idea of what they can do going forward.

Once again Sport in the country has hogged the headlines, mostly for the good reasons. The year 2014 was generally a good year for Botswana sports. Well; we have our expectations and have to appreciate our limits and aspire for what is achievable. On the whole, we have done pretty well as a country, especially internationally.  Despite numerous challenges and issues that one might want to forget, Sports in Botswana continues to grow, continues to be talked about and continues to put Botswana on the World map. Some sporting codes; amongst them Athletics, Boxing, Karate Netball and Volleyball have continued to win international accolades for the country. These also turn out to be some of the better run sports affiliates in the country. I guess it’s a case of good management breeds success. The likes of Nijel Amos, Isaac Makwala, Khaya Groth, Alister Walker and the Volleyball and netball national teams have performed admirably internationally. Botswana hosted numerous international sporting events, notably the successful Africa Youth Games. The Games were a success both on and off the field and gave an indication that indeed Botswana can host major international events.  The Games went a long way in affirming Botswana’s sporting prowess as well as organisational acumen.

On the local front, most sport codes are working hard to up their game. However, sponsorship remains a major impediment as some sporting codes still have to run their Leagues and tournaments without sponsors. That is one area that needs urgent attention. Surely there could be some way for Government to entice corporates to put money into sport. One other glaring shortcoming is the continuous and persistent reported allegations of maladministration within some of the sports codes. This has greatly stalled development as more time is spent unnecessarily on fire fighting and managing management issues rather than on where the focus should be; which is

availing a conducive environment for athletes to perform at their utmost. Sport development still seems to be a ‘by the way’ issue, and some codes don’t even have comprehensive practical development plans. Sport infrastructure is also another great challenge. Some codes struggle to host competitions as they do not have suitable venues to use. This needs urgent attention.

The most popular sport in the country is undoubtedly football, and that is the sport that gets the most attention. All has not been well with our Football and if left unattended, the rot will continue. The National team has been performing dismally and the situation has not been helped by the negative publicity that has dogged the mother body. The BFA-Government – FIFA Constituency Football matter has not helped the situation either. However, there have been some positives with a few youngsters coming in through the ranks. Atleast on the field of play, there is hope for the future.

The Sport portfolio in Government is headed by a newbie and chances are that he will want to prove a point. Fingers crossed; he will make the right decisions and advance sport initiatives. Looking back; the challenges are there for all to see; development, infrastructure, finance, expertise amongst others. What is critical is what is done going forward. Many, including me, have come forth with their two cents worth of what we feel can be done. Afterall, we all want the best for our country.

As we come to the end of yet another action packed, exciting, at times controversy riddled sporting year; self-assessment will help guide us going forward.  Accepting shortcomings usually helps one to aim higher and correct where they could have gone wrong. On the whole, it was a great sporting year, and despite the negatives, there were a lot more positives. Come 2015; the sky is the limit.

YoungManPal Uncut



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