Challenges lie in wait for new sports minister

The new minister will find the regular irritants, which include reduced funding for most codes. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The new minister will find the regular irritants, which include reduced funding for most codes. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

As the election storm dies down, normalcy is expected to return, even to the sports fields. The mad election season saw the departure of former Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tshekedi Khama, with his deputy, Phillip Makgalemele taking over on an interim basis. Eyes of the sports fraternity will be on the victorious President, as to who they will pick for the sports ministry. Mmegi Sport Staff Writer, CALISTUS KOLANTSHO looks at the challenges facing the incoming minister

The incoming minister faces a litany of challenges that have continued to plague sports in recent years. The sports body, the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) is battling its own demons, with a restructuring exercise likely to lead to job losses. Morale is low due to the uncertain future resulting from the restructuring.

With the appointment of a new sports minister just days away, Sports would hope for the best candidate. The new candidate has to deal with the matter of appointing the BNSC board. Critics argue the minister, a political appointee, should not handle the picking of the board, as the process is usually compromised.

Sports is yearning for an individual who has passion for sport and fully committed to creating the right environment, nurturing the talent and opening doors to the international platform.

BNSC board members should be individuals who are adept with sport issues, challenges and opportunities in the country.
A lecturer in the Department of Physical Education, Health and Recreation at the University of Botswana, Dr Tshepang Tshube wants to see a minister with training in at least sport studies, arts and culture, and or youth programming.

“In addition, the new minister should demonstrate business knowledge, deep communication skills, be innovative, youth focused, passion and knowledge in sports. Successful sports ministers demonstrate deep and relevant knowledge in sport and youth industry,” he said.

Tshube said the appointment of a minister should exclusively be based on their knowledge, skills and competencies. He argued that playing politics with ministers’ appointment is a very risky exercise that breeds incompetence. He said political parties should be challenged to recruit knowledgeable individuals who are worthy to be appointed into ministerial positions.

For his part, spokesperson for Botswana Tertiary Student Sports Association (BOTESSA), Duncan Segabo said knowledge on sports issues is key.

“We need somebody with a very good profile on sports issues not people who will learn after appointment,” he said.
Segabo added that they have been struggling on issues of student sports.

“We really struggled as we literally had to workshop different ministers, and this worked negatively against our progress and development. We never succeeded in anything at MYSC mainly due to the ignorance of the previous ministers on issues of student sports,” he said.

Segabo said age should be a factor when making an appointment. He said somebody who is younger would do for the ministry. He said the profile part should include a certain level of education.

“Sport is changing and understood differently. Knowledgeable individuals should be led by somebody really above. If it means having somebody specially elected then it should be,” he added.

Meanwhile, Segabo said sports should be separated from politics, just like education. He said at the moment it is difficult to progress because everything is done along political lines.

“For you to be assisted you have to be aligned to a certain party. I believe neutral people with special knowledge must handle sports issues. MYSC and Ministry of Education must be treated as special ministries. We cannot go far in sports if things remain the same,” Segabo said.

The minister will find the usual nagging, funding challenge, which has been blamed for the stagnation in some sports codes.

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