The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has come to the Botswana Karate Association’s (BOKA) rescue, after greenlighting their bid to host the 2019 Africa Karate Championship (UFAK).
BOKA was forced to appeal to the ministry, after the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) turned down their request to host the continental tournament. BOKA was accused of failing to follow BNSC procedures on hosting. BOKA had also appointed a Local Organising Committee (LOC) before it could be approved by the BNSC board. The LOC has since been dissolved. A new LOC is expected to be in place before the end of February. BOKA president, Tshepho Bathai told Mmegi Sport that they had met Khama last week to lodge a complaint against BNSC’s decision to reject their request to host the competition.
“BNSC had rejected our request because they are unable to fund it. So, we met the minister last week Thursday to request him to intervene. On Tuesday, we had a meeting at his office, which was attended by the permanent secretary, sport specialist and BNSC management,” he said.
Bathai said the meeting agreed that BOKA be allowed to host UFAK and funding would be provided. Meanwhile, Bathai said sports funding has not been increased in years and BOKA could not tell if the BNSC was telling the truth regarding funds. “In that manner, it is difficult to know the truth. We are not sure if BNSC was telling us the truth or not when they told us that they did not have
They are public officers and it would be a grave mistake for them to hold the truth in that fashion,” Bathai said. He said they have requested enough funds to host a successful competition.
Last week, BOKA’s budget stood at P3 million. “BOKA grant remains untouched. The funds that would be used for UFAK are from MYSC via BNSC,” he added.
When quizzed if taking the matter to the ministry would not dent BOKA’s relations with BNSC, Bathai said the two bodies are happy about the development. He said BNSC management was represented at the meeting and they have on record what was discussed and the manner in which it was discussed.
“I believe, in fact, they would support us in hosting a successful event, with advice and resources,” he said.
BOKA will host UFAK vice president, Bechir Cherif from March 25 to 28, 2019. Cherif would be in the country to check progress made towards hosting the event.
Mmegi Sport enquired from MYSC permanent secretary, Kago Ramokate if there was any change in hosting policy at BNSC.
“There is no change in protocol for BNSC and sporting codes. BNSC is still the entry point for codes.
However, where there are appeals, the minister does listen to the codes and acts with BNSC’s input,” Ramokate explained.