-Disgruntled affiliates protest sports grant model

Affiliates of the Botswana National Sports commission (BNSC) have been left frustrated and hopeless over the future prospects of their respective codes following the implementation of newly formulated funding model by their mother-body, BG Sport has learned.

The disgruntled members are said to be engaging over the possibility of having a meeting with the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport, Gender and Culture, Honorable Tumiso Rakgare, to seek intervention over what they deem a clear intention by the BNSC to lead their codes into extinction.

The BNSC have been working over a new funding model for its members with the intension to promote and reward affiliates who show the capacity to positively impact the economy of the country and strongly align to the commission’s long term athlete development plan.

The BNSC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho recently told this publication that the association scored points which determined the tier level of funding they fall under, with tier one (1) reportedly earning a sizeable amount and lowly ranked tier groups only feeding on crumbs.

Three (3) weeks back the affiliates were given their yearly grants and there has been mixed reactions since then over the amounts deposited into the coffers of some codes.

The concerned group of BNSC affiliates have also highlighted to this publication that the sharp decline of funds channeled towards sports by government, is a result of the country’s relentless pursuit to host the Africa Cup of Nations, come 2027. The tournament is expected to cost the government handsomely and is being led by Honorable Rakgare, hence a decision by some members of BNSC to group themselves and present their concerns before the minister.

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) were forced to immediately pull out of the African Championships which are to be held in Cameroon after learning that the budget they were allocated by BNSC would not allow them to make the trip.

This publication has been reliably informed that, BoBA has written a letter to the local sport governing mother-body as they look for answers over the drastic decline on the grant from the BNSC. BoBA, according to close reports, submitted a budget of over P1 million pula only to be given a little below P300 000, a forty percent decline from the P700 000 received last year.

The BNSC have previously urged local affiliates to lessen their over-reliance on government for financial support but rather draft/adopt structures which could enable them to produce and achieve more with less.

The recent MIND-SET change campaign launched by his Exellency Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi was seemingly well received by the BNSC.

“We need a meeting with the Minister yes, we respect the BNSC and all their efforts to develop sports but in this matter we feel that the Minister of Sports is well positioned to listen to our grievances,” BG Sport sources revealed this week.

“The so called top sports codes are ranked highly in this tier system and get a lot of financial assistance from BNSC, take for example, football, if you are a smaller code and you approach the same corporate that football is engaging with, you don’t stand a chance thus means the gap between these two codes will continue to grow,” one official of the frustrated group shared.

The informant further indicated that some sporting codes are likely not to see light of day in the coming years as it will prove to worthless put any effort to embark on development programs.

“Most of us are volunteers, we are not requesting for funds for our own benefits, we have full time jobs elsewhere. We can’t develop to compete against ourselves, we need to be able to challenge our athletes against international opponents but with the current arrangement that’s not going to be possible,” the source opined.

“We are aware of their intensions to see the Minister about the matter.

We have since set a special general meeting with them [National Sports Associations] and one of the agenda of the meeting is to discuss this issue regarding the funding model,” BNSC CEO Tuelo Serufho responded when quizzed on whether they were aware of the developments.

Serufho vehemently dismissed suggestions that the BONA 2027 bid somehow have influenced the decision by the BNSC to revise their funding structure.

“We did not reduce the budget for NSA’s, the difference with the current arrangement is that the monies [grants to NSA’s] have now been distributed differently with tier one and tier two sporting codes getting more monies—the increase is a result of a decrease which was done on lowly ranked tier codes.

The BID has nothing to do with these changes, last year there was no bid but we received the same amount from government as we did last year,” Serufho concluded.

Whether the BNSC will yield to the demands or consider the frustrations of their affiliates remains to be seen, but should the meeting not bear any fruits, the affiliates will insist on seeing the minister.