Why football, volleyball got nod for monthly allowances

Volleyball, together with football, benefited from the allowances PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Volleyball, together with football, benefited from the allowances PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

Football and volleyball national team players received the now aborted monthly allowances following a tier system, developed during former Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Boyce Sebetela’s reign.

The allowances were discontinued in November, after the BNSC admitted the system had become difficult to implement.  The scheme was introduced in 2012 and over the years, but last November, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) decided to halt it. The decision drew mixed reactions, with critics arguing, other sport disciplines were supposed to benefit as well.

BNSC acting chief executive officer, Bobby Gaseitsiwe said when the allowances were introduced, volleyball and football were tier two codes.  “Volleyball and football qualified for a lot of things such as administration, offices, vehicles and appearance fees was more than other codes. That is how the monthly allowances came about,” he said.

Gaseitsiwe said during Sebetela’s reign, at the advice of a consultant, they categorised sporting codes. “The categories depended on following and existence in schools. Volleyball and football were more established and had sponsors. That is why there were put in tier two while other codes ended in tier three and four,” he said.

Gaseitsiwe said for a player to qualify for a monthly allowance, they should be continuously in the national team.  “If you are not in the team, can you say you are entitled to the monthly allowance? It was determined by the codes who submitted names of national team players. We paid players who were in camp. It did not have a time frame and was entirely the determination of a code,” he said.

Asked why the allowances were discontinued, Gaseitsiwe said maybe it was realised that the system was not working.  “They must have been struggling with it or they were against the monthly allowance policy. I cannot comment if we (BNSC) had challenges with it or not. It is not for us to judge,” he said. Regarding the arrears owed to volleyball national teams, Gaseitsiwe said BNSC would not mind engaging Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF).

“We are reviewing the incentives policy for the good of our athletes and make sure that it is performance based. It (review) is at an advance stage and would be submitted to the ministry,” he said.  Gaseitsiwe said volleyball blundered by not seeking clarity from the BNSC over the allowances. He said maybe the request is still with government.

“We knew that we did not owe anybody. You cannot open financial books from the past. That is the policy. The money comes from government. If they have submitted before deadline, the ministry would reconsider. There is no animosity. It is unfortunate that the matter was communicated to us through you (media),” he said. Sources at volleyball said the financial request was long submitted. “When monthly allowances were introduced, they engaged us but they have stopped them without coming back to us. They just wrote a letter, which simply stated that the allowances were being stopped with immediate effect and we should inform our players and coaches,” a source said.

Volleyball spokesperson, Kagiso Meswele said they intend to make a follow up and make sure that the arrears are cleared.

“They must pay what is owed because we got the notification now. I believe if the ministry took a decision to stop the allowances, as volleyball, there is nothing we can do but to inform the players and coaches,” Meswele said.

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