Having more responsibilities with limited funds is the main reason why the National Sports Associations (NSAs) have received reduced grants for the current financial year as compared to the last one, the CEO of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), Tuelo Serufho, has said.
Serufho was speaking in a telephonic interview with this publication after some sporting codes, among them Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), raised concerns that their grants had been slashed.
According to Vice President Administration for BAA, Oabona Theetso, their grant has been reduced by almost 40 percent but did not state the amount that BAA has received. “Our grant has been cut but we have two major competitions next year that we have to prepare for,” Theetso said. “The most saddening part is that we have used almost half of the grant on the World Junior Championships scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya next month. This is going to make it more difficult for us to manage our affairs.”
Outgoing president of BCF, Motlhokomedi Tlhabano, expressed fear that the quality of local chess will be compromised because of the reduced grant that they have received. “Ours has been cut by almost 60 percent, which is going to make it difficult to run the sport,” Tlhabano pointed out. “Looking at our grant, it is going to be difficult for us to develop players and to participate in international competitions. The point is that the grant that we have received is not enough to cover the Chess Olympiad alone.”
Reached for comment, Serufho noted all sporting codes have had their grants cut because BNSC has also received a reduced subsidy from the government. This is after BNSC received a total of P100.7 million for the 2021/22 financial year. “It is not like we are proud to have cut the grants,” he said. “It must be understood that we have more responsibilities with limited funds and there are costs that we cannot avoid.”
He explained and defended BNSC’s new criteria for allocating grants to NSAs. In the new criteria, NSAs are scored against criteria derived from the BNSC Vision 2028 and the National Vision of 2036 in which the more an NSA scores against the criteria , the higher its ranking and consequently its funding. According to the new criteria, football and athletics are classified as high impact sporting codes and therefore they will receive more funding.
“We are now funding for this purpose,” Serufho noted. “We are investing in associations that are helping us to drive the goals of the nation and that of the BNSC.”