Gaborone — Mascom has partnered with Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) to help athletes towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games.
Speaking at the launch, Mascom chief executive officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni said Mascom would support Team Botswana.
She said Mascom had pledged P200 000 towards the fund raising dinner, which was organised by BNOC.
All the proceeds from the dinner would be used to cover athletes' preparations costs.
She said Mascom would also lobby support from the public to donate towards the team preparations and hospitality needs in the 16789 SMS campaign and forgo the revenue share due from the P5 donation and redeem it to the team.
Makhwade-Seboni said Mascom would also utilise the ColMeBack service messaging to send a call to action message that reminds customers to SMS 16789 to support Team Botswana, adding that the initiative and related updates would continue until the team leaves for Tokyo.
She said Mascom would use some of its channels to profile Team Botswana and assist the BNOC in creating the hype, which they hope would get more Batswana, as individuals and corporates, to support the team.
On other issues, Makhwade-Seboni said Mascom was proud of its role in contributing to Botswana, having many more of such breathtaking and exhilarating moments.
"As the leading network provider, we have an ambition to build onto this excitement and euphoria to propel Botswana sports," she said.
The CEO said Mascom was relentless in supporting sports, and they were committed to being part of the story of Batswana stars making the nation proud on the local and international stages.
"There is the Mascom Top 8, the semi-finals of which are happening this weekend, where the last four teams of Tse Di Tona are vying for the P1.4million prize money.
We have also been sponsoring the Mascom Derby for over 10 years, and this Easter, as is customary, all roads lead to Maun for the Mascom Derby.
July sees us in Selebi Phikwe for the Toyota 1 000km Desert Race, which we have been a sponsor of for many years now," she said
Furthermore, she said Mascom had been involved in an array of sports sponsorships including volleyball, cycling, chess, karate, netball, athletics adding that their recent addition was the 2019 inaugural annual Batanani Charity Walk in Francistown.
She said Mascom's interest was in supporting as many sporting activities as possible.
"Therefore we do not limit ourselves to a few codes. We also aim to ensure the inclusion of women and people living with disabilities," she said.
For his part, BNOC president Colonel Botsang Tshenyego said their efforts to send a strong team to the Olympics were ongoing with various teams on camp being athletics, judo, boxing, weightlifting, swimming and karate; to take part in qualifiers for the various sports.
"Currently, we only have three athletes who have qualified all from athletics, being Christine Botlogetswe, Galefele Moroko and Nijel Amos. We are hopeful that we will qualify more athletes before the close of the qualification period," he said.
Tshenyego said while government had released funds towards team preparations, more resources were needed to prepare a strong team.
For this year, he said BNOC had a target to raise P3.5 million to supplement government funding given that athletes require decent accommodation as they train and compete locally and abroad adding that they need transport to attend training and competition sessions locally and abroad; other costs are for training equipment and attire; medical needs such as medical care, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
He said BNOC had developed the Diamond Athlete Programme premised on partnership between the private sector and BNOC to develop elite athletes.
He said through the programme, athletes who had the potential to compete and qualify for major games such as the Olympics were enrolled and given support.
"To raise funds for the Diamond Athlete Programme we have come up with fundraising activities, the major ones being the fundraising gala dinner and the SMS donation campaign. The gala dinner is planned for March, whose actual date will be confirmed, once the ongoing negotiations with an international guest athlete are concluded," he said
The BNOC, he said had set to raise P1 million from the dinner adding that expectations were that other businesses would emulate Mascom to come on board and purchase corporate tickets. The tickets range from P75 000 to P200 000.