In an effort to reward excellence, the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) is in the process of introducing a new funding model, the tier system, which would see excelling codes get more funds.
African Games chef de mission, Bobby Gaseitsiwe speaking during the team’s welcome ceremony this week, said a different approach to sports funding must be adopted.
Speaking in the presence of the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama, the chef de mission said there is need to refocus and commit the available resources towards athletes that they believe have the greatest chance of succeeding at the world stage.
“This is the route that all top performing nations have taken. The era of blanket funding has no place in modern sports,” said Gaseitsiwe.
Khama was seen nodding in agreement.
Gaseitsiwe added that sport has reached a level where they can no longer rely on the services of volunteer coaches appointed on a short-term basis.
He said the level of athletes dictates that the government must now be looking at engaging fulltime professionals on a long-term basis.
“Another area of concern that seems to be recurring at all the games is that of our athletes seeming to lack the killer instinct, especially at continental and world levels. At times our athletes seem to be giving their competitors too much respect,” said Gaseitsiwe.
“I told the karate team during a one-on-one meeting that as long as they continue to respect Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco they would never beat them. They just give up even before the competition starts.” He also called for the establishment of a National High Performance Centre in Botswana. He said it takes more than technique and talent to win medals
“We need to have a place where we could bring our best athletes and expose them in high level scientific and medical services,” he said.
BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo said the tier system is used in other countries and after the African Games that is where they are headed.
“When we go that route, we would be kind to some associations and unfortunately unkind to others because it is nothing else but reality.
We are going to put you in three tiers, the first tier depends on performance at international level and continental, the second tier is how you perform continentally and regionally (and if) you would have the potential to go to the first tier.
The bottom tier would be on a trial bases with little support or just recognition,” he said.
Sedimo said codes would be supported according to performance on the field and administration.
He urged the codes to up their game in order to be assisted.
Khama said he has discussed the funding model with Sedimo adding they should re-think the way they fund sports.
Team Botswana obtained 14 medals (five gold, three silver and six bronze) to finish in position 13 out of 53 countries. In 2015, the team finished 17th with 14 medals (three gold, four silver and seven bronze).
During the 2011 edition of the Games, Botswana was 15th with two gold, five silver and nine bronze.
Meanwhile, Khama congratulated the women’s team for eliminating South Africa’s Banyana Banyana from the Olympic Games qualifiers.