The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is facing a last minute hurdle in its attempt to send a team to the Confederation of African Athletics Under-18 Championships in Abidjan, with P200, 000 needed for the trip.
The team is expected to fly out tomorrow, but the association has not figured out where it will pluck the P200, 000 gap from. BAA intends to send 23 athletes and three officials, who include two coaches and a manager.
BAA treasurer, Brian Mosweu admitted that they face challenges. “We are one of the respected countries on the continent when it comes to athletics. We have quite a good number of athletes who can compete not participate. We always send high numbers to African competitions,” he said.
Mosweu said they are in a sticky situation and the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has not been allocated funds from the government. He said BAA has kept the team on standby as they hope BNSC would come to their rescue.
“If BNSC does not have funds, what can we do? We cannot blame them. Our grant got exhausted in December,” he said.
Mosweu noted that they were doing everything in their power to get the team to the competition. He said it is not about BAA or BNSC, but the country. He said last year, the association got a P1 million grant and they expect the same amount, or even less, this year.
Meanwhile, BAA has come under criticism over the Olympic Dividend Fund. BAA received P200, 000 from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for development, but there were reports the funds had been diverted for other use.
“People should understand what development is. We submitted a proposal to IAAF with the proposed projects. The major projects were to run coaching courses, officiating, development of athletes and sending them to competitions,” he said.
Mosweu revealed that to come up with a proper athlete, there is need to have qualified coaches. He said BAA held a coaching course recently for 12 days. He said instructors’ costs gobbled much of the budget.
“Instructors’ cost was around P32, 000, feeding costs P37, 000 and accommodation expenses were at P8, 000. It is a lot of money, which is over P70, 000,” Mosweu stated.
“We sent a team to the World Cross-Country Championship, which is part of development. We spent P56, 000 on plane tickets and five athletes’ allowances at P21, 000.” He said BAA also sponsored cross-country finals in Palapye. Mosweu said it is part of accounting, to issue cheques to members depending on what has to be paid for. He said in some instances they just pay suppliers directly. “We have to account to IAAF for them to release the remaining balance of the fund, which is P51, 000,” he said.