FORMER Botswana National Sports Council executive secretary, Kagiso Kemoeng, has cautioned the sporting fraternity not take for granted the support they get from the Government and corporate world.
Speaking at the Annual National Sports Awards at the Rainbow Towers on Thursday, Kemoeng, who was the guest of honour, said there was need for sport to produce results that brings value to their brand.
"Sport continues to receive financial support from the corporate sector despite the prevailing difficult financial times. I urge the corporate sector to continue supporting sport in this country at different levels and facets.
"At the same time, I caution the sporting fraternity not take Government and private sector support for granted.
"The fraternity should raise their brand and level of performance such that Government and other partners should see in them a worthwhile partner as they endeavour to reach their business objective.
"More than anything else the sporting fraternity should account for every piece of support that goes its way, be it from Government, private sector, supporters and other good Samaritans and philanthropists.
"Like every other sector, sport is not entitled to any form of support unless the would-be-supporter is convinced of value for his or her money," said Kemoeng. Kemoeng also took time to highlight some of the initiatives that have been taken by Botswana to improve sport in that country such as the reviewing of the Affiliates Empowerment Scheme established in the late 1990s.
That saw the nation recruiting Cubans to help in the fields of athletics, basketball, boxing and volleyball as well as engaging sports physicians.
He also attributed their success to the improved allocation of financial support by the government over the years.
As a result of such initiatives, Botswana won their first ever Olympic medal this year at the London Games. Their national football team qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time.
"Your challenge as a nation is to provide a solid foundation on which to build your sport development initiatives and create a letting atmosphere for your athletes to perform to their potential."
Kemoeng, who is a member of the Zone Six Organising Committee, urged the Government to review its support towards sport.
"Sport deserves better, for it continues to be proven that sport is not only a major contributor to health, it is also an important economic stimulator.
"As an insider at the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone VI, at least for now, I note with appreciation that the Government of Zimbabwe has since signed protocol agreement with Zone VI in respect of this country hosting the sixth edition of the SCSA Zone VI Under-20 Youth Games in 2014.
"I congratulate the Government of this country for making a move in this direction and urge the people of this Republic to rally behind the government in preparing for these Games.
"We should not allow ourselves to be fooled by time, for two years under these circumstances can easily pass without us realising.
"Speaking on behalf of Zone VI, where I am a member of the Zonal Organising Committee (ZOC), we avail ourselves to assisting you in preparing for hosting the Games in 2014.
"My advice in the meantime is for you to start the preparations early and not to set your foot off the accelerator until the Games. This should aid in your endeavour to put together a successful set of Games," said Kemoeng.
Other notable guests that attended the event include Education, Sport, Arts and Culture deputy minister Lazarus Dokora.
"The ministry also recognises that sport is getting more and more competitive, and to keep up with this competition, it is necessary to embrace sport science in a significant way.
"Bindura University is to be commended in this direction.
"It is imperative that we apply scientific methods to our training from a very early age," said Dokora.