Thamane opens up amid raging softball storm

Softball president Thabo Thamane
Softball president Thabo Thamane

Local softball has made the wrong headlines in recent weeks with the committee led by Thabo Thamane facing a vote of no confidence.  But amid the swelling storm, Thamane has remained calm, and tells Mmegi Sport Staff Writer, CALISTUS KOLANTSHO that he has been turned into an enemy for doing things by the book

Expectations rose when the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) CEO, Thabo Thamane beat Katlholo Mosimanegape in the Botswana Softball Association (BSA) presidential election.

Under the campaign slogan ‘The New Dawn’, Thamane was seen as a messier sent to save softball.  But now matters have turned sour and calls are growing for him and his committee to vacate office.

The depletion of the BSA grant within two months is one of the talking points. But Thamane wondered why people were thinking that the subvention was not to be used for national teams preparations.

“I am not going to answer for a hearsay by someone who did not have control on how the funds should be used. What is wrong with putting in fund request from the subvention giving valid reasons and for national interest?”

Thamane said as the committee, they meet and decide if something is for national interest or not.  He said the idea was to send three national teams to international competitions and give the players exposure.

“I cannot just sit here and popularise other people’s agendas. How many times has the Under-19 competed with the rest of the world?  How many times does the men’s team play in the World Championship? How many times does the women’s team compete in the Olympic qualifiers?” he asked rhetorically.

Thamane said the committee has been given the mandate to run the sport. “If the whole fraternity of managers are saying ‘sending teams to the international competitions was wrong’, they should stand in front of me and say it,” he said. He said nobody has used BSA funds for personal benefit, but the funds have gone into the well-being of players. He said the reason why the funds were released is because the request was reasonable.

“People must realise that since getting into office, we have never failed to send a national team to compete. If softball people are saying national teams are not important, they must tell it to my face and we would cut the national teams and focus on club softball,” he said.

Thamane said he does not want a person who has no idea of how to source for funds to start complaining about the subvention.  On the efforts to push him and the committee out, he said people should prove that he has failed, and not pursue certain agendas.

“If you come to me because there is an agenda, I do not benefit anything from softball at a personal level. People must come to me and say, ‘Thamane I asked you to do this and you failed’, then I will accept,” he said. Thamane said when he took over, he promised to improve governance and accountability.

He said there is infighting because people do not want to account and follow governance.

“My campaign trail was underpinned by governance, accountability and financial prudence. We are saying all BSA affiliates must be properly registered with the Registrar of Societies. They must comply by submitting returns. If they do not do that, where can they find a sponsor who would just pour money when people are failing to account.  That is where the war comes from,” said Thamane.

He said if clubs are not ready to comply they must inform the committee because they have been given the October deadline and are allowed to ask for an extension.

He warned that he would not run softball on the basis of non-compliant clubs. Thamane said they should not follow the BSA constitution selectively but to the letter.

“If you are selective you are being unfair to the cause. The constitution was made before I was in office. I am simply asking them to stick to their own document,” he added.

Thamane said people want to remove him from office because they want someone who would waive the constitution.

“The constitution explains that BSA members should be properly registered. The moment you become selective, it means there is anarchy. I am willing for us to go to the annual general meeting (AGM) and let the association take action. People should not use unorthodox methods to remove us from office because we want compliance,” he said.

Thamane said if his committee were voted out during the AGM, they would go because it would be an indication that affiliates want anarchy. The BSA AGM is set for November.

Thamane said he has announced that he did not become softball president due to foreign trips.  “When teams go I want the technical department to be beefed up. I would rather donate my seat. What will I be doing there,” he said.  On the suspension of some national team players and the technical staff, Thamane said there were reasons behind it.

“If those people need explanations from the committee, they must come to us not other third parties. In the letters, it’s written contact the author and they know I am going to give them feedback. They should come to me so that we discuss the issue. I am simply following the constitution, if they do not want that, they should change the constitution,” he said.

Some have questioned his behaviour, but he believes that there has to be some level of arrogance for one to ensure some semblance of order

“Yes, I am arrogant, what do they want me to do? For me to change their mind-sets I must put my foot down. That arrogance has made me successful,” said Thamane with a chuckle.

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