Sports Development in Botswana, Africa

Abstract

The Botswana flag has never been raised nor has its national anthem been
heard at the medal ceremonies of any major international sports competition.
The aim of this paper is to critically analyze problems of sports development
in developing countries, taking Botswana, Africa as an example. This paper
is based on material collected from a number of documents on sport in
developing countries, newspapers and material from the Internet. E-mail
correspondence was exchanged with a number of officials employed by the
key providers of sports development in Botswana. An interview was conducted
with a Botswana international athlete who was resident in the United Kingdom.
The results of the research showed that Botswana has made great strides
in the administration and organization of sport since independence, but
the economic advances that have been made are being threatened by the
HIV/AIDS pandemic that has become the most devastating emergency in the
nation’s history.

Introduction

The republic of Botswana is situated in Southern Africa; it extends for
1100 kilometers from north to south and 960 kilometers from east to west,
and is the same size as France or Kenya, or slightly smaller than the
state of Texas in the United States (US). It is landlocked being bordered
by South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe (Republic of Botswana, 2003;
Corlett & Mokgwathi, 1989; Mokgwathi, 1999). Despite its size, the
population of Botswana is only 1.47 million in 2004, 79.8 per cent of
whom claim Tswana heritage (a Bantu group). It has one of the highest
birth rates in the world, as the average Botswana woman will have five
children.

Since independence in 1966, the national life expectancy increased from
49 to 69 years, but by 2004 it has been reduced by 25 years to 44 years.
Alarmingly, more recent research projected that the life expectancy could
fall as low as 29 years if the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus was not slowed
or reversed. In 2001 there were 330,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, which
is 38.8 per cent of the population. The virus is also expected to halve
the population growth by 2006. This will have an enormous economic and
social impact especially as the HIV/AIDS rate among certain groups of
the working population is approximately 25 per cent (Political Profile,
2004). Botswana has the world’s highest incidence of HIV/AIDS; 85
people per day become infected with HIV and will develop AIDS, and die
within a decade without affordable treatment. One-half of the natural
deaths are linked to the disease, and 1 in 8 children are infected with
the virus at birth (McIntyre, 2003).

The relatively small population, and the concentration of the population
into the southeast corner is due to the harsh physical and climatic terrain
of Botswana. Most of the country lies at an average elevation of 1000
meters, and covering 85 per cent of Botswana is the Kalahari Desert; in
the northwest is the Okavango Delta, and in the northeast is the clay
desert of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Such features and the limited number
of urban communities make communication and travel difficult, thus presenting
logistical difficulties with travel over long distances in order to participate
in sport. Softball, for example, is very popular, but there are a limited
number of softball teams in Botswana. Due to problems with traveling vast
distances in the country, play is geographically divided between north
and south to minimize costs, and a national tournament is held annually,
at the National Softball Diamond Stadium in Gaborone.

Economy. Botswana has one of the world’s highest rates
of economic growth estimated to be between 11-13 per cent annually (Botswana:
Africa’s Freest Economy, 2004; Toriola, 2001). In 1998, the per
capita gross national product in Botswana was US $3070, which is high
by African standards. The wealth of the country may be important as research
by Nevill & Stead (2002) indicated a 0.71 correlation between the
GNP of the country measured in US$ and success in the Olympic Games in
Sydney, Australia. So Botswana, with a high GNP by African standards,
is in a better position to succeed in international sport than many other
African countries.

Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed
itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income
country. The performance of the economy has enabled the government to
increase resources for education, health, food, housing, and social welfare
programs including sport.

Success in international sport. It is still the case that “The
Botswana flag has never been raised nor has its national anthem ever been
heard at the medal ceremonies of any major international competition”
(Corlett & Mokgwathi, 1989, p. 223), although according to Mokgwathi
(1999, p. 136) “the BNSC has a vision which includes Botswana at
the medal awards ceremonies of world class competitions.” Botswana
did not win any medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia,
and only won 3 medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
Botswana was more successful at the All-Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria
in 2003 when they won 6 medals. A Commonwealth Games medallist from Botswana
informed me:

“As a nation, our view for sport has mainly been for fun and enjoyment…
we had not taken it to demonstrate or put our mark…but things
have moved on and its just a matter of time, let me assure you that
a medal is coming within 2 years…even at the Olympics this year.”

Concluding evaluation. Botswana’s elevation to a middle-income
country reflects its record of political and social stability, economic
growth, and prudent economic management. (Botswana Economy: Facts and
Figures, 2004; The World Bank Factbook: Botswana, 2004). I was told that:

“The party that is in power now has been in power since independence
and it seems that Botswanans are happy with the way Mogae (the President)
runs the economy and the way he runs the country. We are fortunate and
I salute all those guys working around the clock in shaping Botswana
to be who she is today.”

The high rate of unemployment that officially is 21 per cent, although
unofficial estimates are closer to 41 per cent in 2001, and the HIV/AIDS
pandemic threaten Botswana’s economic gains (McIntyre, 2003).

Further, Botswana suffers from a widely scattered population, as there
are vast distances between centers of population, although most of the
urban population lives in the southeast corner of the country. The GNP
is high by African standards, and its population remains small. But as
in many African countries there is migration from rural to urban areas
that have resulted in the creation of shantytowns, homelessness, unemployment
and crime.

Despite these problems, Botswana has achieved sustainable economic growth;
it is a peaceful democratic country despite being surrounded by countries
in which there is economic and political turbulence. Botswana is a positive
role model for other African countries, south of the Sahara, and it is
in this context that the role of sport in Botswana will be examined.

Theoretical framework. All of the countries in Africa including
Botswana, with the interesting exception of South Africa, may be described
as developing countries. For Giddens (2001) the distinguishing features
of developing countries is that their political systems are modeled on
systems established in societies in the West; most of the populations
live in rural areas, but there is a rapid growth in the cities; agriculture
export remains the main economic activity; western industrialism has undermined
more traditional systems; and, they form distinct political communities
or nation-states. The concept of development is addressed by reference
to statistical data of the demographic conditions of the population, the
quality of public communications, the achieved technological standards,
life expectancy, the nutritional situation of the inhabitants, and the
distribution of wealth. More specifically in relation to sport, Coghlan
(1992, p. 1) defines developing countries as, “a range of sovereign
states that are to a greater or lesser extent in a process of social change
needing co-operation and assistance from those that are better placed.”
A distinction is thus made between developed and developing countries.
This definition of developing countries implies that there are many similarities
in the socio-economic and political composition of such countries, but
they also all differ in their traditions and histories, and in their stages
of development. Coghlan’s (1992) definition of developing countries
is used as a template for the purpose of this examination of sport in
Botswana.

The Problems of Sports Development

Sports organizations. In his detailed analysis of the patterns
of government involvement in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United
Kingdom, Houlihan (1997) maintains that in order to understand the development
of sport and sporting issues in different countries, it is necessary to
have an “appreciation of the development and organization of sport
and the dominant pattern of policy-making” (p. 22). Hence, in order
to understand the problems of sports development in Botswana, the key
sports providers will be examined.

In Botswana, the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA) (Corlett
& Mokgwathi, 1989; Mokgwathi, 1999; Toriola, 2001) govern sports administration.
Within the Ministry is the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) which
serves as the “legislative arm of government which co-ordinates
and provides overall leadership for sport development in Botswana”
(Toriola, 2001, p. 10). I was informed that:

“The objective of the Department of Sport and Recreation is to
create an environment in which all Botswana, whether rural or urban,
disabled or not, can participate in sports either for fun, health, fitness
or recreation. This would mean that those who have potential to excel
would be provided with the facilities and environment to reach their
full potential. It would also mean promoting active living behaviors
through sports and recreational programs.”

The Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) deals directly with the various
sports associations delivering competitive sport in the country, and therefore
serves as an intermediary between the government and the national sports
associations (Mokgwathi, 1999; Toriola, 2001). The BNSC comprises representatives
of all of the sports organizations in Botswana, and according to Corlett
& Mokgwathi (1989) “it has substantial power” (p. 218)
mainly because the chairperson of the BNSC is appointed directly by the
MLHA (Mokgwathi, 1999). An athlete informed me that, “The BNSC
reports to the Government through the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
(MLHA), and its overall responsibility is policy formulation for sports
development.” The BNSC allocates funds to sports organizations,
but evidently this process has not always taken place in an equitable
fashion, as the BNSC fails to represent the interests of all of its members.
The BNSC reports to the DSR, which due to its weak position in the MLHA,
is unable to offer significant financial assistance, and other resources
to implement major capital projects and policies planned by the BNSC (Corlett
& Mokgwathi, 1989). For example, the Botswana Softball Association
team had to raise significant funds independently to compete in the World
Championships in Michigan in the US in 2004, thus indicating a scarcity
of funds for representative international sports teams.

The National Softball League is, in fact, one of the few national leagues
to be sponsored as Shell Oil Botswana has sponsored the league for the
past eight years. However, this sponsorship is not without conflicts,
as at the 2003 Shell softball prize giving in Gaborone, conflicts arose
between the players and sponsors as not all of the players conformed to
the request to wear clothing supplied by the sponsors. For Marumo Morule,
the President of the Botswana Softball Association (BSA), this indicated
a lack of professionalism by the players. He said that the “sports
codes must do what the sponsors want,” thus raising issues in relation
to the organization of sport, the governing bodies of sport and the demands
of the sponsors (Teams ‘soil’ Shell Oil Ceremony, 2003).

The BNSC is funded by an annual grant from government through the MLHA
which is distributed to operate various national sports associations affiliated
to BNSC based on their sport development needs (Toriola, 2001). As with
all such organizations, both in the developed and developing world, government
funding is deemed to be inadequate despite an increase in the annual grant
between 1985-98 in order to meet the demands of sports development programs.
Much of the money is used by the national sports associations to meet
international sports engagements, but the lack of qualified coaches, good
facilities and funding has resulted in athletes being poorly prepared
for international sports events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games
(Toriola, 2001).

There is indeed increasing evidence that the government is taking a more
active role in the development of sport and recreation in Botswana by
increasing to P22 million ($5 million) the annual grant to the BNSC, and
providing moral support to its athletes. When asked if the government
is involved in sports development, a Botswana athlete informed me, “There
is a Department of Sports and Recreation and if I recall well, there was
a total of five stadiums to be completed around the country last year.
The Vice President of Botswana was in Manchester cheering for me…
yes the government is deeply involved.”

The Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Major Gene Pheto said
that the increase in the grant and “the construction of sport facilities
in various villages throughout the country is testimony of government
commitment to sport” (Government Committed to Sport-Pheto, 2003).
He further stated that the money would be used by the BNSC to fund the
31 sports under their jurisdiction, and to ensure that the national team
participates in international competitions. In order to improve performances,
the BNSC has also introduced cash incentives to national athletes and
teams. But Toriola (2001) still feels that sports development is hindered
by poor sport structures and inadequate facilities that are typical problems
in a developing country such as Botswana.

There is more recent evidence of the BNSC becoming increasingly involved
with the promotion of sport at a local level. For example, Tebro Onkabetse,
a member of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) speaking to the Bobirwa
Sports Festival in Mmadinare, noted how the BNSC was helping to organize
district sports festivals. He also noted that the government was committed
to providing a conducive environment for the development of sport and
recreation, and that there had been acceleration in the provision of integrated
sports facilities throughout the country.

Aid from the international community. Botswana competed as an
independent country for the first time in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
Despite a demand by the US for all African countries to boycott the Games
due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, Botswana felt
obligated to participate. This was mainly due to the close association
Botswana had with the Soviet Union who provided technical assistance in
sports development since independence.

There has been significant Soviet influence on the structure and organization
of sport in Africa. This influence expanded in the 1980s and took many
forms. By 1982 over 200 Soviet sports specialists worked in more than
30 African countries. They provided material aid, sports equipment, and
literature, organized sports exhibitions, and constructed sports facilities.
Athletes were encouraged to participate in joint training sessions with
Soviets. In 1981, there were 49 sports specialists from 32 developing
countries studying in the Moscow State Higher Institute of Physical Education.
As part of the Soviet propaganda effort to foster goodwill towards the
USSR, and develop positive attitudes toward the Soviet state and its policy,
statements expressing support for the USSR were also made (Chappell &
Seifu, 2000). Ironically, the US has also been involved in the development
of sport in Botswana. In 1981 Mal Whitfield an American Olympic gold medallist
visited Botswana and recommended a framework for sports development, and
his recommendations were a major factor in determining future policies
and decisions in the country (Toriola, 2001).

Botswana still has a close association with the USSR’s former ally,
Cuba who provides coaches to train Botswana sportsmen and women in athletics
(track & field), boxing and volleyball (Toriola, 2001). An athlete
informed me,

“I think they started working in Botswana around 1996 if I recall
well…and they work on a contract basis…. say two or more
years depending on how they are doing. The current one in athletics
has been there since 1998 and is doing a great job and will do much
more if he is allowed to do his job properly!”

Khumiso Ikopoling, a boxer from Botswana trains in Cuba under this scheme
of co-operation as he maintains that “Cuba has good boxers and good
training equipment compared with Botswana” (Boxers Promise Fireworks,
2004).

As in many other developing countries, the BNOC is a recipient of funds
from Olympic Solidarity, and this is used in order to fund sports development
schemes and coaching courses. With the support of these funds, an international
volleyball course was organized by the Botswana Volleyball Federation
(BVF) sponsored by the BNSC in conjunction with the BNOC between 27th
December 2003 and 10th January 2004, and was staffed by a coach
from Egypt (Roberts tops Olympic Solidarity Coaches Course, 2004).

Funding sports organizations. The development of sport in Africa
has been plagued by a number of problems. In the first place, extreme
poverty is the most serious obstacle to the development of sport, as funds
are needed to alleviate more immediate social problems. In soccer, the
Fėdėration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) offers
financial assistance to promote the game, and is mainly used to develop
football (soccer) for the masses, and not to fund representative international
matches that are, to a certain extent, self-funded. However, the lack
of finances has limited participation in international competitions. For
example, in the qualifying stages of the 1994 World Cup, over 20 African
nations failed to complete their games due to the lack of resources and
civil unrest, and similarly, 16 countries dropped out of the qualifying
stages of the African Cup of Nations in 1996.

More recently, media attention in Botswana has focused upon qualification
for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Botswana (nicknamed the ‘Zebras’)
have been drawn against Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Malawi and Guinea in
their Group Five World Cup qualifying matches. The winners of the competition
will proceed to the finals in Germany in 2006, while the top three will
qualify for the African Cup of Nations to be held in Egypt in the same
year. A tough competition is expected especially from Tunisia and Morocco,
both of whom hope to do well in order to enhance their bid to host the
World Cup Finals in 2010. Optimism within the BFA is high as they have
moved eight places from 36 to 28 in the African FIFA rankings (116 in
the FIFA world rankings in October 2003) so they hope to make an impact
on the qualifying group (Zebras Brace for World Cup 2006 Qualifiers, 2004;
Zebras to Face Harsh Realities of World Cup, 2003). Football in Botswana
has become an important focus in which the population may identify proudly
with a local, national or international team. Support for the national
team in World Cup qualifying matches represents the opportunity for the
expression of national pride and identity.

Participation in the World Cup qualifying matches, however, has raised
the issue of a lack of finances as the BFA need to raise approximately
P7 million ($2 million) in order for Botswana to participate in the 2006
World Cup and the African Cup of Nations qualifying rounds. The BFA chief
executive, Falcon Sedimo announced that they were in dire financial trouble
and there was a likelihood that they might fail to honor some of their
fixtures if funds could not be secured in time. This might have been a
strategic ploy to secure additional funding from government sources, but
it does highlight problems encountered by some national associations when
participating in international sports events such as the World Cup (Zebras
to Face Harsh Realities of World Cup, 2003).

Similar financial problems have confronted the national softball team
who competed in the International Softball Federation (ISF) XI Men’s
World Softball Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand between 29th
January and 8th February 2004. (Botswana Softball Team for
New Zealand, 2003; BSA Names Players for Men’s World Championships,
2003). Participation in the World Championships indicates the commitment
of the national association to play softball at international level, and
the availability of some funds to support such ventures. But the team’s
participation was thrown into uncertainty when the BSC pleaded that it
had insufficient funds to participate, so appealed to the BNSC for assistance.
The BSA had to raise one-half of the P300,000 ($1million) required to
participate, and the remainder was given by the BNSC. All finances were
eventually secured just prior to departure and Botswana’s participation
was confirmed by the International Softball Federation (ISF) (Softball
Men for New Zealand Championships, 2004).

Boxers from Botswana have achieved some success at international competitions,
and most national teams at international sports events such as the Olympic
Games, Commonwealth Games and the All-Africa Games include several boxers;
they won bronze medals at the All-Africa Games in Egypt in 1991, and in
Zimbabwe in 1995, the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England in 2002,
but winning medals at the Olympic Games has been more elusive. Boxing,
as with other sports, is hampered by a severe a lack of funds that is
restricting the ability of boxers from Botswana to compete in international
competitions. Botswana was only able to send five boxers instead of an
allocated 10 to the Olympic qualifying tournament in Casablanca, Morocco
between 15-22January 2004. Further problems arose when two of the boxers,
Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza and Lesley Sekotswe were refused
permission to leave their jobs as teachers by the Ministry of Education.
The BABA representative promptly called into question governmental support
for sport as the government refused permission for its own employees to
compete in the Olympic qualifying competition. The BABA maintained that
this action was not in line with the Ministry’s vision of Botswana
becoming a competitive sporting nation. Discussions between the BNSC,
the DSR, and the Ministry of Education did not secure the boxers’ release.
The three remaining boxers who did compete in Morocco failed to impress
as one was eliminated in the preliminary round, and the other two were
beaten during the quarterfinal stages (Botswana Boxers Fail to Impress,
2004; We are not to blame-BNSC, 2004). Further financial problems were
highlighted by the inability of the BABA to replace the old electronic
scoring system that is required to determine the results of boxing matches.
However, this situation was rectified by the International Boxing Association
(AIBA) as the African Boxing Championships were held in Botswana between
15-23 March 2004 and therefore supplied the new equipment (Cash-strapped
BABA to send Four Boxers to the Olympics, 2003).

Fledgling organizations. There have been a number of problems
recently that are typical of a fledgling organization trying to make an
impact in African and World sport. These problems are an indication of
instability in organizations that sometimes are not completely democratic.
In March 2001, for example, the Botswana part-time football coach David
Bright resigned following the 1-0 home defeat by Malawi in the first round
of the Confederation of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA)
Cup. He had only just been appointed coach before this game in order to
replace the veteran German coach, Heinz Marotske. Marotske was appointed
in January 2001, but mysteriously “walked-out” from the position
one week before the game with Malawi.

In response to this situation, the Sports Minister D.K.Kwelagobe became
involved by saying that the Botswana government would help to pay the
salary of a full-time coach in order to improve the results of the national
team (Jelusu Veselin from Yugoslavia was eventually appointed). The intervention
of the government calls into question the independence of the BFA that
is a feature of the organization of sport in democratic societies (Botswana
Search for ‘Big Name’ Coach, 2001). Further administrative
problems arose in January 2004 when Falcon Sedino, the chief executive
officer of the BFA resigned his post without disclosing the reasons for
his resignation (Sedimo Quits BFA Hot Seat, 2004). Similar problems have
arisen with ‘in-fighting’ within the Botswana Amateur Boxing
Association (BABA) over the appointment of coaches and managers for international
tournaments.

In softball, steps are being taken in Southern Africa to re-address the
lack of an adequate international structure. Representatives from Botswana,
Lesotha, South Africa and Zimbabwe met in Gaborone on 28th
November 2003 to establish a Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA)
Zone VI Softball Confederation. Delegates maintain that the absence of
an adequate international structure was highlighted by the absence of
women’s softball at the All-African Games (AAG) in Abuja, Nigeria
in October 2003. This was because a Zone VI tournament held as a qualification
tournament was not affiliated to the SCSA. In relation to the formation
of the confederation, Maumo Morule maintained that “it means we
will be eligible for all of the competitions sanctioned by the SCSA, we
will be eligible for support from the government, and it will strengthen
softball in the region” (Regional Softball on the Cards,”
2003).

Sport in schools. A lack of suitable organizations is highlighted
in the structure of sport in schools, and this is significant as most
children get their sports experience through schools. The Botswana Institutions
Sport Association (BISA) organizes sports competitions for junior and
secondary schools, and is affiliated to the BNSC and based in the Ministry
of Education. The BISA organizes sports competitions on a school-term
basis, that is athletics between January-May and ball games between May–August
(Toriola, 2001). It also organizes international competitions between
the smaller countries of Southern Africa. When asked about the structure
of athletics in schools in Botswana, I was told that:

Yes, there is an adequate structure, which is quite competitive because
those who became champions go on to compete with schools in Southern Africa
(it used to involve 6 countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland
etc during my time: 1996-1998). The only problem is that there is no effective
and efficient structure in place to support those outside school, but
I have heard that something is coming up…or has started as of last
year.

Despite having the BISA organizing competitive sport in school Mokgwathi
(1999, p. 128) still argues that “the major problem in secondary
schools is the lack of adequate facilities, equipment, trained personnel,
proper and safe transportation of the student athletes.” However,
no such organization exists to co-ordinate the development of sport at
the primary school level. This weakness in the structure of school sport
was addressed by the former director of the DSR, Shaw Kgathi who called
upon an umbrella organization similar to the BISA to co-ordinate the development
of sport in primary schools. He also recommended that funding sport in
the primary school level should also be increased (Kgathi for More Sport
Funding, 2003).

Mismanagement within organizations. Many new states seek to gain
membership of international sports bodies in order to give their country
status, legitimacy and publicity value (Houlihan, 1991, 1994, 2000). Membership
of most organizations is dominated by a small number of predominantly
Western European and North American democracies, therefore access is difficult.
European and North American members, for example, dominate the International
Olympic Committee (IOC), and it is also a problem with many international
sports federations “in which Western and European functionaries
still dominate” (Eichberg, 1984, p. 97). Many countries in Africa
seek membership of other smaller organizations, such as the Commonwealth
Games Federation, in order to have access to decision-making processes.
These organizations tend not to be dominated by the major powers, are
more concerned with policy decisions rather than exercising political
power, and are more democratic, thus allowing greater equality in decision
making (Houlihan, 1994).

The development of the football in Africa has also been undermined by
the lack of democratic processes within the administration of the sport.
For example, Ismail Bhamjee from Botswana was optimistic of becoming President
of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at the elections on 22nd
January 2004. Bhamjee says that although voting is by secret ballot, he
was assured of support from 7 out of 15 West African countries, 3 out
of 9 from central African countries and 11 out of 13 South African countries.
In other democratic organizations it would be inconceivable to know the
outcome of a vote prior to it taking place, thus raising issues with regard
to CAF presidential elections being completely democratic (Bhamjee Optimistic
of Winning CAF Top Post, 2004). Further, some government officials often
interfere in the organization and administration of football that destabilizes
African football, and limits some country’s advancement in international
competition.

Concluding Comments

Corlett & Mokgwathi (1989) have argued that sport is a small part
in Botswana’s culture. They further argue that in a fragile economy,
to succeed at sport would require resources to be taken from other sectors
of the economy. Quite rightly they maintain that in this situation the
development of sport might not be a priority. The impressive economic
advances that Botswana has made since independence are being threatened
by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has become the most devastating emergency
in the nation’s history. Botswana has the highest infection rate
in the world, and consequently household incomes are being reallocated
to assist AIDS patients within families. The pandemic is also compromising
children’s ability to stay at school thus reducing their opportunity
to participate in physical education and sport. The greatest impact is
on girls in Botswana who become infected at an earlier age and are at
least four times more likely to become infected than boys.

As most deaths from AIDS occur in adults of childbearing age, these parents
have left an estimated 78,000-orphaned children. This number of orphaned
children is likely to overstress the government’s capacity to offer
better delivery of social services including sport. If this trend continues,
an unprecedented number of children will be left without parental care,
and the traditional methods of caring for orphans will not be able to
cope. This again will reduce the resources available for developing sport
(At a Glance: Botswana, 2004).

Botswana has made great strides in the organization of sport since gaining
independence. The country is politically stable at least compared with
some of its African neighbors. Relevant bodies to administrate sport in
Botswana, that is the BNSC, and the BNOC, have been established, as has
their terms of reference. Botswana has been represented recently in the
finals of the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the All-African
Games. Indeed taking into account the small population (1.47 million)
and the vastness of the country that makes traveling problematic, Botswana
has done remarkably well in international sport. But the BNSC ought to
encourage more of the population to participate in sport. The BNSC also
needs to address the problem of transparency, especially in financial
matters in sports organizations.

In 1999, in order to develop elite athletes and coaches, the BNSC in
conjunction with the United States Sport Academy initiated plans for a
national Sports Academy (Toriola, 2001), and this is an example of the
type of co-operation that needs to be undertaken. But more needs to be
done, and therefore Botswana needs to strengthen its agreements with countries
such as Cuba who can help to promote and develop sport for all in Botswana.
Further, Botswana needs to take advantage of the schemes organized by
the Olympic Solidarity Fund and those organized by federations such as
the IAAF and the Fėdėration Internationale de Football Association
(FIFA).

 

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