The long-awaited Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) judgment day has arrived. National Sport Associations (NSA) have a mammoth task as they choose a new Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) board tomorrow.
A tight contest is expected with three men, incumbent Botsang Tshenyego, Ookeditse Malesu and Tirelo Mukokomani vying for the presidency. The current board's tenure has been disrupted by COVID-19 but there have been mixed feelings about their time. Some NSAs feel more could have been done.
Athletics president, Paphane Botlhale said he joined in 2019 and worked closely with the board in 2020 when all sporting events were suspended due to COVID-19.
“In 2021, we worked closely. I could say they did not meet our demands and expectations leading to Tokyo 2020 Games. We could not qualify the mixed relay despite being the top 4x400m relay team in Africa both in men and women,” he said.
Botlhale said at the 2019 Africa Games, athletics men and women teams brought home medals. He said the team stood a good chance in mixed relay had they been fully supported. Botlhale said they need a board that understands the needs of Federations.
Softball president, Katlholo Mosimanegape said they need a board that is in touch with the reality on the ground. He said as NSAs, they go through a lot grooming athletes that could bring positive results at international competitions but they always struggle to get the necessary tools to prepare.
“We need a board that has experience in producing podium finishers. When we go to international competitions, our players deflate because of the gaps in their preparations. When medal targets are set especially for Olympics, the board should be realistic,” he said.
Taekwando president Vinay Naiker said they understand that the BNOC board comprises volunteers but felt that they had little time with NSAs.
“One could say they delivered on their promises but they had little time to meet with us when the need arose. This interaction is needed especially for a growing sport and we hope the incoming board would be more visible especially when an NSA believes the NOC is seen to be interfering with its logistics,” Naiker said.
Rugby president, Sean Irish said it was difficult to judge the past board because their term was disrupted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think they did themselves a disservice in the past four months and needed to look at the BNOC constitution a lot earlier. Removing two NSAs could have been done better and addressing issues of NSAs that are not compliant or are in trouble should have been addressed but blind eyes have been cast,” Irish said.
He said the first worry of the new BNOC board is getting basics back in place then raising money, as there is no money left for sport. He said it is important for the board to lobby for school sport working.
“If they could achieve just those three, sport would triumph in 10 years' time. There is no quick fix for the next two years so work on the next four,” Irish said.
Boxing president, Gilbert Khunwane said he expects a tightly contested race for all positions. He said all candidates have strong profiles.
“I hope the incoming board would release funds for preparations early. It does not help to have money for the games but nothing for preparing the teams. I guess nothing much could be said about the outgoing board because their term was disrupted by COVID-19, especially for preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” he said.
The new board would be at the helm for the next four years and is expected to hit the ground running to prepare for international competitions next year. These include the World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The board has an immediate task of appointing a chief executive officer. Wedu Motswetla has been holding the fort and the search for a substantive incumbent has begun.
Presidential candidates: Tshenyego, Malesu and Mukokomani
Senior vice president: Thari Mooketsi and Tshepo Sitale
First vice president: Michael Moroka and Patrick Moesi
Second vice president: Boineelo Hardy and Tiny Kgatlwane
Additional board members: Irene Ntelamo, Mmaneke Maplanka, Reabetswe Jaba, Tebo Segaise, Tlamelo Dube, Unaswi Matebu and Yarona Sharp.