Tennis president rubbishes funds abuse claims

Under the spotlight: Amanze
Under the spotlight: Amanze

The Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) president, Nelson Amanze has dismissed reports that his committee abuses funds, to the detriment of the players’ development.

An official who preferred anonymity has raised these damning allegations following last week’s Mmegi Sport interview with former BTA coach, Wellington Sibanda.

The coach had accused the association of neglect and the source corroborates his story. Sibanda, a former coach based in Selebi-Phikwe who has since moved to Namibia, spilled his frustrations from his new base last week. However, Amanze yesterday rubbished allegations levelled against his leadership as ‘fabricated’.  He said the allegations are a calculated move intended to tarnish the image of the association.

According to a disgruntled member of the association who did not reveal his name for fear of victimisation, the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) allocated a grant to the BTA, which committee members had used to consistently travel internationally. They also claimed that the money is used to pay themselves allowances, at the detriment of player development. The source also said officials regularly claim there is no money to support local tournaments and fund players’ trips to international events.

The committee has also been accused of refusing to disclose the list of trips partially or fully funded by the BTA together with the list of individuals who take part in these trips.

Amanze however said the only trip the committee undertook was to the annual general meeting of the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT). He said he attended the meeting together with his secretary general.

Amanze further said it was important for the BTA to attend the meeting because it was a platform where decisions affecting the sport were concluded. He said seats in the CAT board and his trips are not financed by BTA. Amanze said BTA has never neglected the development of players.  “We have only cancelled one trip, which was to Namibia and it was done after receiving advice from our technical department. At the time, as you might recall, we were also hosting the African Junior Championships Zonal qualifiers at the same time. That came with costs,” he said.  Mmegi Sport has also been informed that last month, three officials accompanied two players who were competing in the Under-19 competition in Tunisia.  It is alleged that the move was against the decision that was made during the BTA executive committee meeting to send a maximum of two individuals.   “We were only informed this month that there is no money for the Under-12 and Under-14 teams for them to go and compete at an International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Mauritius,” said the source.

However, Amanze said it was impossible for BTA officials to misuse funds as their budget is administered by the BNSC.

Amanze, who has been BTA president since 2012, said he would not be contesting for the position next year when they go for polls.

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