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Softball officials trade hard blows

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Sharp differences: The southern region is divided following recent resolutions PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Bears Softball Club manager, Dr Nozibonela Malunga Payet has accused southern zone officials of spreading lies following a meeting at the weekend.

The meeting was organised by southern zone general manager, Naletsana Ditsele in order to update affiliates from the south on a number of issues affecting the sport.

Amongst some of the issues, it was reported that clubs would share the BoFiNeT League prize money.

“There should be a meeting that will specifically deal with COVID-19 compliance document, so that clubs have input and ownership before it is signed by the National Executive Committee (NEC). That northern and southern zones should meet and agree how the 2020/2021 league would be played and agree how the reduced clubs would be eliminated,” reads a statement released after the meeting.

The meeting suggested that an artificial lawn should be considered for the National Diamond to reduce maintenance costs. But Payet told Mmegi Sport the meeting was unproductive.

“My problem with these meetings is that there are never any facts or figures that you could make reference to when you engage. People come up with haphazard information,” she said.

Payet gave an example that the general manager informed the clubs that Botswana Softball Association (BSA) was given P1 million for the current financial year, but all along they have been getting less than that.

She noted that the P1 million was specifically to cover for COVID-19 compliance.“Clubs were asked to submit budgets for what they would need to be compliant as compliance entails a lot of finances in terms of equipment. The BSA received funds from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC),” Payet said.

“Now what the general manager is saying is that they cannot assist clubs with the BNSC grant but she is not saying why. If she cannot give facts and figures then she should not talk about issues she is not conversant with.” She said the NEC failed to negotiate with the sponsor with regard to the conditions of the sponsorship.  “They just took an old document and did not revise it before going to the sponsor to negotiate a second term. After the contract came back to bite them, they failed to negotiate with the sponsor or make a proposal that would benefit clubs considered at the lower end of the log,” Payet said. She said it was clear the NEC does not have any long-term plans for the development of softball

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and are ready to let lower clubs go down.

“We are told that the sponsor has said that they would sponsor a certain number of clubs, but the BSA NEC has no idea what to do in the situation. Mind you, you are talking about clubs that have used their little funds to participate in the league and are already disadvantaged,” she said. Payet added the BoFiNeT League funds have been reduced but there is no explanation.

“We expect them to give us an explanation at the annual general meeting (AGM),” she said.

Payet said the state of softball in the country has taken a nosedive. She argued the previous NEC had made inroads, which saw an improvement of the men’s world rankings, and there were some international relations with other countries such as Czech Republic.

Another contentious issue raised at the meeting was of the condition of the borehole at the National Diamond. Payet said it was untrue that the National Diamond borehole was not working contrary to BSA report.

“The borehole is working and it is being used by BNSC to water the National Stadium. But the Diamond turf is dead. It is not the first time that we complained about the state of our lawn but now there is talk of an artificial lawn,” she said.

Payet noted that a tender for the erection of the Diamond fence should be allocated to softball players who are into construction.

But Ditsele said Payet was raising unfounded allegations. She said it is unfortunate that Payet has decided to ignore what was discussed during the meeting.

“Clubs have agreed that the money from the sponsor must be shared equally. You must also note that it is impossible for us to give clubs money from the BNSC grant,” she said.  Regarding the borehole, Ditsele said there were reports that the borehole is not functioning. “The BNSC had informed us that the borehole was not working only to learn that they use it to water the turf at the stadium,” she said.

Ditsele said they intend to put the softball field lawn back to good state even though it is going to be expensive.  She said managers have suggested that the NEC should consider putting an artificial lawn to cut maintenance costs.



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