Chess president intends to continue despite opposition

The Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) president, Tshenolo Maruatona has vowed to complete his four-year term despite opposition from some quarters.

His critics argue he has not done enough to develop the sport. Among other accusations, some affiliates feel certain players do not deserve their places in the national team. But Maruatona who is in his second year, said he intends to finish his term.

He said the four-year term might seem long, but is meant to give the executive committee to execute its mandate.

Ahead of BCF’s annual general meeting in Lobatse tomorrow, Maruatona said the leadership would update the general membership on progress. Clubs will be represented by two members preferably the chairperson and the secretary. Schools would also be represented.

Maruatona felt his leadership has done a lot to improve chess and it has become one of the prominent codes in the country.   He argued that upon taking charge in 2013, the committee introduced chess in primary schools and went on to set a Re Ba Bona Ha Centre in Francistown. He said another centre would be opened in Shakawe in the near future. “BCF will utilise the platform to update the membership on the success and challenges faced by the federation over the past 12 months, the strategy and development activities for the past year and beyond. As well as the regional and international competitive landscape and BCF financial standing,” he said.  He admitted that they failed to find new sponsors, but the existing partners such as Metropolitan Botswana and Debswana increased their sponsorship.

He said they intended to find a sponsor for the league, but that has not been possible.  Maruatona said if they ran a league, it was going to enable players to remain active all the time.  Meanwhile, the president said this has been a good year for both individual players and the men’s national team. 

“We saw chess dominating the Botswana National Sports Council awards. We received nominations in four categories being sporting code of the year, young male player of the year (FIDE Master Thato Olebile, young woman player of the year (Woman International Master Onkemetse Francis) and best team of the year (Botswana Olympiad team 2013).

He said players have improved their World Chess Federation (FIDE) rankings, which is a clear sign of growth.

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