BNSC Explains NSAs Grant Suspension

BNSC Explains NSAs Grant Suspension
GABORONE 10 December 2020, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) caretaker chief executive officer Tuelo Serufho during the BNSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Gaborone on 10 December 2020. (Pic:Monirul Bhuiyan/PRESS PHOTO)

Grants to National Sports Associations (NSA) were suspended because the government has decided to focus support on national team activities, the Acting CEO of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Tuelo Serufho, has said.

“It is not a decision we took on our own to save money,” he told The Business Weekly Sport in an interview. “I think we are all aware that the government has reprioritised funds to support COVID-19 initiatives and cover budget deficits occasioned by the pandemic. It is an understandable decision.”

But the government will pay for operational costs of NSAs and the BNSC, Serufho noted.

The BNSC decided to suspend grants to NSAs late last year, partly affecting Quarter 3 that runs from October to December, while Q4 (January to March) is completely affected.

But the government will pay for operational costs of NSAs and the BNSC. Serufho disclosed that grants to NSAs will resume in the 2021/2022 financial year. “That will be in the context of what the Commission will receive from the government,” he said. “BNSC will not receive a sizeable chunk of what the sports ministry voted for in the 2020/2021 financial year.”

NSAs receive quarterly administration grants from the BNSC for their programmes and events.

Serufho told The Business Weekly Sport that the BNSC understands the repercussions of the unavailability of funds and suspension of sporting activities because of COVID-19. “But we do understand that there are emergent and pressing needs that government needs to address,” he said.

He explained that the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) is not affected by the suspension of grants to NSAs because it is preparing Team Botswana for Tokyo in winter.

So far four athletes, namely Christine Botlogetswe, Galefele Moroko and Amantle Montsho, have qualified for the Games where they will tackle the women’s 400m race, among other events. Nigel Amos is the fourth athlete who has qualified.

On the football front, the Zebras are preparing for decisive back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers at the end of this month. Adel Amrouche’s charges will play against Zimbabwe in Francistown on March 2021 after which they will lock horns with Algeria in an away game on March 29.

The two encounters are must-wins for the Zebras if they are to keep alive their hopes of a second appearance at the finals. They are on third spot on the qualifying table, with one point separating them from second-placed Zimbabwe and fourth-placed Zambia.  Algeria has already qualified, hence the month-end encounters will decide which other team joins them.