Maun — Sankoyo Bush Bucks Football Club technical team was crowned champions of the one- day soccer tournament held at Maun Sports Complex over the weekend.
Sankoyo, affectionately called Ngurungu, walked away with a trophy and gold medals, after trashing Elephant Protection Society 4-1 in a competitive encounter.
The tournament organised by Great Plains Conservation Company in collaboration with Sankoyo Bush Bucks Football Club attracted four football clubs.
They are Elephant Protection Society from NG 32, Red Cross Society commonly known as Catja 11 and the hosts, Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Great Plains/Okavango Community Trust.
Some individuals also received P600 voucher each to buy at Sports Vision for good performance. Oyster Temetu from Red Cross team was awarded Woman Player of the Tournament, Carlistars Hamuyanaro from Great Plains/Okavango Community Trust was crowned Player of the Tournament as he displayed a sterling performance and scored three goals.
Katlerelo Kentshitswe from Elephant Protection Society took Man of the Match award.
Speaking during the event, Great Plains general manager, Bruce Petty explained that the event aimed to celebrate the re-opening of tourism and sports activities and the benefits they brought to the communities and livelihoods in Ngamiland.
He said they also wanted to acknowledge all that had been achieved over the last eight months, despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic.
"We Great Plains and Sankoyo Bush Bucks have formed a meaningful relationship with other non-governmental organisations and community based organisations during the pandemic and we wanted to celebrate the spirit of collaboration hence the tournament," he added.
Through the tournament, Petty said they wanted to promote sport tourism in the district known as a tourism destination.
Tourism and sport attract more people and they saw it fit as the tourism operator to support Ngurungu as they want see it back into the elite league.
Tourism development officer from Botswana Tourism Organisation, Thatayaone Mmapatsi thanked Great Plains for working jointly with Sankoyo to promote sport tourism.
He explained that sport tourism was ideal, noting that it was growing globally, citing that World Tourism Organisation was generating over P7 billon through sport tourism.
Mmapatsi said the model was ideal in Ngamiland as the area had a lot to offer in terms of tourism products.
The model, he said unite people and hailed participating teams for being ambassadors of tourism and conservation.
Mmapatsi was hopeful that through support from ourism industry, private sector and other organisations, Ngurungu could trace its roots back to the premier league and put the district in the map by attracting more sports fanatics and followers.
"When people visit Maun, more opportunities will be opened as more businesses such as accommodation facilities, transport and small businesses will benefit more," he added.
He called on other companies to emulate what Great Plains was doing to develop and grow sport in the district.
Sankoyo Bush Bucks chairperson, Itumeleng Kelebetseng said the event was critical as they had been going through tough times. He thanked their partner Great Plains for rallying behind the club during t difficult times, adding that they had signed a memorandum of agreement to cement their collaboration.Their partnership together with other NGOs, he said, would go a long way in driving sport tourism and at the same time protecting natural resources.
"This is a curtain raiser for the coming season and we promise to do our best to take the team back to the premier league," said Kelebetseng.
Nhabe Regional Football Association vice chairperson, Ephraim Kgwarae encouraged clubs to adapt to the new normal and abide by COVID-19 protocols as they celebrate the opening of sports.
Source : BOPA