The State of the Nation Address (SONA) has come and gone. Not much was said in there with regards Sport, bar for two or three sentences. As I heard President Ian Khama went to the paragraph that was headlined SPORT, I had my expectations.
However he did not say much. Maybe justifiably so, maybe not, depending on how you feel about Sport. As a sport enthusiast, I expected a bit more than to just congratulate those who age been doing well in the sport arena.
As a sport enthusiast, I thought we would hear something on sport development from a national point of view, especially with regards access and infrastructure development. These are key if we are to be even more successful in Sport.
I expected the Presidentto touch on the issues that affect sport at grassroots, especially the prolonged stand-off between teachers and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development. I would have expected the President to touch on Constituency Sport Tournaments and maybe update on how they are progressing.
There has been major strides that have been made and I would have expected the President to highlight them. I feel that the establishment of the Botswana National Sports Commission. Hopefullythis will herald a new era for sport development. There is talk doing then rounds that the Botswana AthleticsAssociation (BAA) will be a stand-alone Association and have its own Secretariat as the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
For me, this is a great achievement as Athletics has been doing well for Botswana. Maybe some of these would have made it into the SONA and maybe some should not have. But as thin as the Sport update was in the SONA, some of these should have definitely made it into the update. We all know what sport does and the emotions that sport evokes, both positive and negative. A sport enthusiast he is, I expected the President to say a bit more on Sport.
Having said this, I will attempt to have my State of the Sport Address. We have had some remarkable achievements internationally and the different sporting codes need a pat on the back. Such codes like Athletics, Boxing, Swimming and Netball deserve special mention.
These are codes that have put Botswana on the international map. There are some individuals who also deserves special mention. Another positive has been the opening of the Francistown Sports Complex. Hopefully we will have similar infrastructure developments in other parts of the country and we can have more and more sport events rotating throughout the country.
After all, Sport is not for Gaborone only and other places around the country also need to host some major sporting events. I’m already thinking why can’t we have something similar in Tsabong or even Gantsi. We have also had some of the so-called smaller sport codes raising their hands and showing that they can be a force to reckon with. This is very commendable.
On the flip side, we still have challenges that need to be addressed forthwith. Some of them I would have expected a mention on. Sport infrastructure is one key development driver, and Government should be taking the lead in development of sport infrastructure. We need more stadia and sport halls. It is unfortunate that indoor sport codes still struggle for venues.
The other pressing matter is the one that has never been really dealt with conclusively. The issue of teachers and coaching at schools remains a major achilles heel for development purposes. I tend to feel it is a policy matter, that needs to be addressed from high above. We need to have a definite stance on it once and for all.
As much as some are positive and some are negative, my expectation was that they would be touched on, especially feedback on some major initiatives and achievements in the last 12 months.