Sports family awaits Khama speech

The sporting fraternity is expected to get glued to various forms of media when President, Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama gives a State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday November 9.

With the National Development Plan 10 approaching the end, sport lovers will probably wait in anticipation of great developments that occurred on the sport front during the plan.

Of note in the plan was the refurbishment of the national stadium in Gaborone and the construction of Lobatse and Francistown Sport complexes.

The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture has made commitment to provide modern sport and recreation facilities for all people irrespective of age, gender, physical ability or socio-economic background, with a view to promoting healthy lifestyle.

This was in recognition to the fact that good quality facilities is a pre-requisite for the promotion of excellence in sport to improve the nation’s competitiveness.

The ministry committed to focus on the provision of sport and recreation facilities countrywide in order to increase access and participation in sport, and the facilities were planned to be developed in different centres around the country such as Francistown, Lobatse and Gaborone.

The President is therefore expected to inform the nation that the three major sports projects have since been completed despite the setbacks and delays during construction, therefore Botswana national football team can now play games outside Gaborone and the country is almost ready to host international sporting events.

Also, the President is likely to talk about great performances by local athletes in international competitions such as Nigel Amos, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Isaac Makwala.

President Khama might announce to the nation that government has disbursed P8.8 million to Botswana National Olympic Committee for Rio 2016 Olympic Games preparations.

So far on individual achievements, Nijel Amos of 800 metres, Isaac Makwala , Onkabetse Nkobolo of 400 metres and 4×400 metres men relay have qualified for Rio,therefore they might be recognised for their qualification.

Chance are that he might talk about team Botswana performance at the 11th African Games, that were held in Congo Brazzaville where Botswana athletes managed to scoop 14 medals in total with athletics topping the table with three gold, two silver and one bronze, followed by Karate with one silver and four bronze, Boxing managed to win two bronze, while swimming only one silver.

At the Commonwealth Youth Games, which were held in Samoa, he might talk about the history made when team Botswana won three medals which are Botswana’s best performance ever at Commonwealth Youth Games since its first CYG in 2008 in Delhi.

The gold medal was won by Karabo Sibanda in the 400 metres flat race while the other gold was won by 4 x100 metres boys relay which was made of Sibanda, long jumper Kabo Mphali, Thabiso Sekgopi and Aobakwe Malau, while Mahommed Rajab Otukile won a bronze medal for Botswana in the 49kg.

In football, the President might give credit to the Zebras for their wins against Burkina Faso and Eritrea in the AFCON and World Cup qualifying games.

The issue of commercialisation of soccer clubs, lack of blue print and the fact that sport authorities have remained aloof from the unfolding chaos as a result of failed commercialisation. Many teams are on the brink of collapse while others risk never to be able to attract investors again due to lack of protection of investors and the societies themselves.

In the Fifth Session of the tenth parliament, President Khama announced that government recognise that the development and promotion of sport contributes to economic growth and diversification.

And over the past year, Botswana hosted a number of major sport events, which benefited the country through sport tourism.

He had said to place sports on a sounder footing, the Botswana National Sports Commission Bill 2013 has been drafted and is expected to be presented in Parliament during the next sitting.

The Bill seeks to establish a Sports Commission to provide greater clarity in the execution of the sporting mandates.

To that effect, he is expected to announce that Botswana National Sports Commission is fully functional and the chief executive officer Falcon Sedimo has been appointed.

President Khama is also anticipated to update the nation that; Botswana Netball Association has been granted the right to host the Netball World Youth Cup by the International Netball Federation in 2017, and will attract 20 countries in the world that will qualify.

Botswana will also host the International Working Group on Women and Sport world conference in 2018, and the country is expected to host at least 1200 participants from all over the world.

However, some sport pundits are of the view that a lot will be said concerning sport. University of Botswana sport psychology, sociology of sport and track and field lecture, Dr Tshepang Tshube said areas that needs more attention are training of coaches and further development of current schools of excellence.

He said he thinks athletes welfare will be addressed, appearance fees, allowances and general support could benefit from SONA.

Ntibi Kedikilwe said his expectations is that the President might introduce or increase some allowances across sport codes to encourage the youth to work hard and the other reason for the increase might be improved performances by sport codes which are relatively unknown like Swimming, and Judo.

He said Naomi Ruele took a silver medal at African Games, and that alone was a clear indication that women are equally capable of bringing results.

“I also expect the President to talk about our performance at World Championships, African Games, and Commonwealth Youth Games, in my view this will propel government to inject more money in sports as it has shown a lot of improvement and growth.”

He further said it will be of paramount importance for the President to talk about building sports academies, given that sport has a potential to give youngsters decent salaries and they can live out of it.

Paul Sebudula said the President has over time shown passion for sports, adding that he has always applauded those who continuously do well in representing the country at international arena

“My expectations are that he is going to say something about the Zebras current good performance, and plans for RIO 2016 Olympic Games,”he said.