While the sports codes welcomed former President, Ian Khama’s idea of monthly stipend for all national team athletes, there was apprehension in some quarters, which felt the development was not sustainable.
Soon after assuming power in 2008, Khama assigned the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Department of Sport and Recreation, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to facilitate a proposal to pay allowances to players from each of the 16 football Premier League and 24 First Division teams, as well as volleyball league teams.
“This gesture was to extend to other sports codes in subsequent years, provided they run national leagues or regular tournaments that could be aggregate into a league,” reads a document which was presented by the BNSC to Khama before the implementation of the scheme.
“It is an attractive scheme but who pays the players? How? Are players who are on salary elsewhere paid the same as players who are not? Who receives the payment, all the players or only those who have played a certain number of matches? How are players sidelined by injuries treated,” were some of the questions raised by the BNSC affiliates.
The document further stated that paying players at club level would not be better administered if club structures were not improved to satisfactory levels.
“Well run clubs would lead to a well run league, thus paving a way for a professional sport set-up where better income would be generated through better gate takings and meaningful sponsorship that would improve clubs income,” the BNSC affiliates said in the document, which was presented to Khama by the then BNSC executive committee, led by Daniel Tau as chairperson, and Kitso Kemoeng as the chief executive officer.
MYSC has since decided to scrap the allowances, effective November 2018.
At the time of scrapping, the senior volleyball team was owed since November 2017.
The volleyball national team had 14 players and three coaches, and last received payments in January 2018, which were for arrears for up to October 2017.
Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) president, Daniel Molaodi said they are together with the BNSC awaiting the release of funds by government through MYSC.
“We have submitted to BNSC for onward submission to the Ministry as it is procedure and the only lists not yet submitted are for this year,” Molaodi said.
MYSC permanent secretary, Kago Ramokate said when the Ministry stopped the scheme, they were not aware of any arrears.
“We have not received submissions from volleyball to indicate that we owe them. If that is the case, they should follow that up with the BNSC,” he said.
Ramokate said the procedure has been that they receive claims from BNSC and then process payments.
He said if BVF was not happy about the treatment they were getting from BNSC, they are allowed to appeal to the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the volleyball team was expected to go into camp at the end of January to prepare for Africa qualifiers, but the technical team is yet to finalise its schedule.
“The technical team is finalising the national team schedule that speaks to all competitions we intend to take this year. Therefore, they would advise us before end of this month,” Molaodi said.