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Confusion over Elite Scholarship

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Bouncing back: Basketball did not receive the scholarship document
There is confusion over the Elite Scholarship process after the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) insisted, draft guidelines were sent out to National Sport Associations (NSA) for their input, while some sport codes said they never received the document.

The BNSC sent out the 2021 Elite Scholarship application guidelines to solicit feedback from sport codes, but some maintain they were not consulted.

BNSC director-sport development, Bobby Gaseitsiwe said the document was sent out to NSAs last December, and the guidelines were a draft and are not yet approved.

Mmegi Sport is in possession of a letter signed by BNSC caretaker chief executive officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho. In the letter, Serufho stated that the Elite Scholarship Fund guidelines are currently being reviewed to make the criteria more lucid and objectives more aligned to current needs in sport development.

“NSAs are requested to participate in the review through perusing the draft and improvements,” the letter reads in part.

The fund shall assist in the payment of education expenses for athletes who have proven academic excellence and sport potential for further education. The fund would be open to athletes who are admitted to local or international tertiary institutions. The fund is open to those excelling athletes graduating from secondary level but having admission to any tertiary educational institution.  The NSAs were expected to have made their feedback by January 15.  

Gaseitsiwe said NSAs were expected to have input on the new guidelines because they are part of the system.

“The guidelines are still at draft stage and still at sport development committee level. Regarding the BISA and BOTESSA endorsement, we are not intending to exclude any athletes from the fund. I think people took it out of context. It was done in good spirit. We would never exclude any talented student. The deadline for the applications is April 30,” he said.  This

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came after concerns from BISA and BOTESSA that private schools athletes would be left out of the programme.

The fund was established to assist excelling athletes under the age of 21 years to get funding to study and train from the government or any interested private entity. The NSAs should submit the scholar’s personal profile endorsed by BISA or BOTESSA.

Some of the NSAs that did not receive the savingram are Botswana Basketball Association, Botswana Karate Association, Botswana Tennis Association, Botswana Chess Federation and Botswana Rugby Union.  BBA president, Boineelo Hardy told Mmegi Sport that the letter that they received on the date in question was the review of Botswana Sport Hall of Fame guidelines review. For his part, BCF president, Mothokomedi Thabano said they only came across guidelines when applications for the fund were announced. He said there was nothing that required their input.

“We were given the usual application announcement but this year there was an attachment with guidelines. However, as an educator, I do not have a problem with profiles being endorsed by BOTESSA and BISA. We have not been under BISA but they know our players, the same thing applies to BOTESSA. I do not see any athletes being sabotaged. I think they were included because they deal with school sport,” he said.

Thabano said it was clear that other NSAs were not happy that their athletes’ profiles would be endorsed by other NSAs. He said maybe the uproar is caused by a lack of consultation and if the letter of the guidelines was received by NSAs, it would be better.



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