Botswana: BNSC Funding System to Boost Sport

'new system to improve accountability, transparency'

'Sport needs to have a meaningful contribution'- Serufho

VICTORIA MARUMO

editors@thepatriot.co.bw

The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has adopted a new funding system which calls for the categorization of National Sporting Associations (NSAs) as per Appendix 1 for the purpose of funding in the 2021/2022 Financial Year.

Sport Analyst, City Keagakwa, believes the new system is the right step towards sport playing a significant role in the country's GDP. "I think it's a fair justification looking at how these sporting codes have been assembled. It will also call for transparency in terms of management of funds, " Keagakwa applauded. He also said the new funding criteria will challenge NSA's to conduct audits and be accountable for the given funds contrary to what has been happening in prior years; giving sport a more professional approach.

According to Keagakwa, however, a notable downside to the system is the difficulty for lower ranking NSA's to make it up the ranks given that they will struggle to make funds to hold competitions. "Nonetheless the incorporation of the private sector in sports is key in sport development, a model which aligns with the BNSC vision 2028. This will push NSAs to achieve their goals which helps the BNSC to achieve its set mandate in terms of qualifications for the Olympics and other major competitions," he said.

Sporting Associations have accepted the changes and are still trying to work around the new model. Botswana Hockey Association Public Relations Officer Kelly Motsu said they recently got notified of this new of funding and are still discussing it as a board. The discussions seek to discuss the constraints and how they can make up as the association. "We cannot answer with certainty at the moment until we have finalized on the discussions, "she added. Meanwhile Botswana Judo Federation Segokotlo Kingsley said they are following protocol and the way forward on issues of funding. They are also optimistic that something will come out such as supplementary funding. Both associations fall under the middle impact ranking.

Of the funds available for direct allocations to NSAs, 56% has been allocated to High Impact sports that are six (6) in number, 32%, 10% and 2% to Middle High, Middle and Low impact sports that are 17,12 and 4 respectively in number.

According to BNSC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho the new funding system was motivated by the need to see sport contribute to the growth of the economy. "We are cognizant of the fact that it takes a lot of investment to get results even at an international level and we are not at that level of investment. This leads to the same results and what we call a hit and miss situation,"said Serufho, explaining that through the new system BNSC will be able to guarantee a certain level of consistency and be sure of medals as the old fashion of doing things does not yield results.

Serufho explained that the selection criteria and positioning of associations came as a result of identifying a sizeable chunk of them with the expectation that they will produce results. "Sports needs to have a more meaningful contribution," he said. He further mentioned that a small portion of the funds have been put aside for a case-by-case assessment of the associations at the bottom of the list. Serufho said they understand that the odds in terms of numbers and club numbers may be against fairly new sporting association but with exceptional athletes. In such cases the BNSC will make special consideration and support these athletes with potential to become world beaters hence giving a purpose to the funding.

Duplication

The BNSC has also been in discussion with the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) on a more integrated collaboration of the two sport bodies. "I can confirm that we have a bit of headway, a bit of engagement and that there is a scheduled in camera session with NSAs just to illustrate something happening to harmonize the BNSC and BNOC which will later be open to the media as well, " said Serufho.

Keagakwa said it's possible for one to view the BNOC and the BNSC as a duplicate organization. However the former should be treated more as an arm that supports the BNSC moreso that it can be treated like other national federations that have their own sports calendar. "If we merge them the IOC won't be able to recognize the BNOC. I think it's all just a matter of seeing how the two organs can work around the small budget allocated by government," he added. He further mentioned that Serufho is the perfect candidate for a smooth continued transition in terms of making a relationship work between the two bodies as he is the first BNOC CEO after his years with the BNSC.

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