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Codes asked to submit plans for return

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Return plans: The BNSC has asked affiliates to draw post COVID-19 plans PIC:KENNEDY RAMOKONE
The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has requested National Sport Associations (NSAs) to submit plans, which showcase readiness to resume activities as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are eased.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently announced measures to start easing restrictions, with gradual return to normal activities at the end of the month.

Following the announcement to ease restrictions, BNSC chief executive officer, Falcon Sedimo wrote to NSAs on Wednesday, urging affiliates to submit plans on how they would move forward post COVID-19.

Affiliates are expected to complete a questionnaire for the purpose of updating the National COVID-19 Task Team on the possibility of sport activities resuming. The deadline for the submission of the plans is next week Monday.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) CEO, Mfolo Mfolo confirmed receiving the correspondence and said they would wait for clearance to resume activities from health authorities.

Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) is one of the few codes that have expressed desire to resume activities. BTA president, Oaitse Thipe said they had written to the BNSC requesting permission to start training.

He, however, said the sport’s mother body had not responded, but instead sent the letter requesting for post COVID-19 plans.

“Tennis should be allowed to start action. It is a social distance sport and International Tennis Federation (ITF) has developed guidelines to help in returning to action,” he said.

For his part, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) vice president, Gontlafetse Batsetswe said not much has happened since the halting of sport activities in March.

“We have not taken any step further than where we left. As you are aware, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) Kago Ramokate has made it clear that his Ministry has not considered contact sport to date,” he said.

“We are, however, working on a risk versus mitigation matrix that has been sent to all NSAs to consider by World Health Organisation (WHO). We would soon be engaging our clubs with the guidelines on what they should consider in an effort to get back to the

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playing fields.”

Batsetswe also said in softball there is a lot to be done in terms of providing mitigation measures for COVID-19 prevention, as they share balls, equipment, dugouts and their facilities are in dire situation. He said social distancing aspect has a big part to play in softball especially when it comes to umpiring.  Botswana Volleyball Association (BVF) president, Daniel Molaodi said they had three components that they were focusing on this year.  “The first component was rebranding which also included partnerships drive. The plan was affected by COVID-19 pandemic because companies that we were targeting are now limping. Some have donated towards the COVID-19 Relief Fund. But it does not mean we are abandoning the plan. The COVID-19 pandemic came at a time when we were in the middle of the Olympic qualifiers and our men’s team had qualified for the second round that was to be played in The Gambia. The qualifiers were halted due to COVID,” he said.

Molaodi said they have written a letter to the International Volleyball Federation (IVF) requesting for the qualifiers to be staged again because many countries did not attend the competitions. Molaodi said if the response is positive, it means they must prepare the team again.

He said the other component is development focusing mainly on youngsters. He said the challenge now is that most of the players in the programme are students and it is going to be difficult to access them since the government has taken a decision that focus should be on academics, with sport suspended.

“We also have the out-of-school project that we expect to continue but the challenge is going to be social distancing especially for indoor volleyball because beach volleyball can operate under social distancing. Those are the issues that we would present to the BNSC,” Molaodi said.



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