Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) might find itself having to answer for a breach of contract with Nike, their technical sponsor.
This comes after the athletics body sent a team to the 2019 World Cross Country Championships to Denmark without the Nike kit.
The BAA-Nike agreement signed ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games stipulates that the US sportswear manufacturer will supply kits for national teams competing at the World Championships, World Indoor Championships, Olympic Games and World Cross Country Championships.
On an annual basis, Nike sends a consignment comprising singlet, half tight, short, tight, tee-shirt, knit suit, rain suit, Is zip, airborne, boy short, tee, polo, cap and socks.
However, the consignment excludes spikes and roller bags.
But last week the team competed in the World Cross Country Championships without the Nike kit.
Kebaitse Legojane, who was involved in negotiating the technical sponsorship deal, said there is a penalty for sending a team to a competition without the branded Nike kit.
“There is a $1,000 penalty for violation of the contract for cross country competitions. For Olympic Games it is $5,000 and $1,500,” he revealed.
Legojane said the kit that was to be worn by the cross-country team was supposed to have been sent last year. He said the items sent in 2016 were valued at around $11,000 and last year’s consignment was around $15,000.
“It is embarrassing to us who negotiated the deal on behalf of BAA and even to Nike. You cannot have a team representing the country without national colours,” he said. According to a source, there was miscommunication between Nike and BAA.
“BAA tried to get the kit from Nike but they were not successful. When the team arrived in Denmark, the team met with Nike officials who informed them that they did not have the Botswana kit,” the source said.
It is said the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC)
The BNOC also did not have the kit. The team’s manager, Brian Mosweu referred the matter to the BAA president or secretary general.
BAA spokesperson, Ipolokeng Ramatshaba admitted that Nike supplied a team last year that was to cater for World Cross-Country Championship.
He said it was unfortunate that the team travelled without a kit. “We do not know how the kit ran out before the championship.
We even forgot to inform Nike that we are competing at the event. Because if we had, they would have provided a kit upon the team’s arrival,” he said.
Ramatshaba said what the athletes were wearing was fine as it had the same colours. One of the athletes, Rapula Diphoko said when they arrived in Denmark, they were informed that BAA had not confirmed attendance, which meant that there was no Nike kit for them.
“Our manager was told that the kit was ready waiting for us before we left. We were shocked that there was nothing. We had to come up with a plan, a plain kit and spikes were sourced for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mosweu confirmed that BNSC had rejected their application for funding of the trip due to lack of funds. He said BAA had exhausted its grant in December. “What normally happens is that BNSC assists us through what is called forward spending. It is the end of the financial year so things are a bit difficult,” he said.
Mosweu revealed that even the team that will be travelling to Côte d’Ivoire for the CAA African Under-18 and Under-20 Athletics Championships is faced with the same challenge of lack of funds.