- Gov’t defends revised regulations
- Teams decry prize monies too low and kills competitiveness
Reduced prize monies and lowering of age limit for individuals participating in the constituency sport tournaments, as introduced by government in the new regulations are some of the complaints that participating teams have highlighted as unnecessary and demoralising.
The return of the re-structured government sponsored tournaments has attracted strong criticism, which have seen the ministry coming out to defend the changes.
Ministry of youth, gender, sport and culture has explained that despite the financial impacts of covid-19 which saw the tournament shelved for two years, government decided to activate the tournaments this year with same budget, while looking for means of improving them in the coming years.
However, while the budget has remained the same, the new structure is such that all participating teams get to receive prize monies, which has led to a reduction in podium finish prizes.
“For the past years only position one to three were awarded with prizes but for the current cycle our intention is to split the money across all the participating teams so that they can all benefit,” North West District Principal Programs Officer II, Refilwe Banda told Times Sport.
She explained that the North West district alone consists of over 100 clubs, adding that there will be consolation prizes for the runner ups and therefore the little that will be given to the teams will make the tournament active.
Banda has since urged the participating teams to utilise the little amount they receive to come up with strategies to generate income for their clubs.
Concerning restrictions that bar employed people from partake in the tournament, Banda has stated that the program is strictly meant to empower the unemployed youth because they have no other sources of income. She urged those who are employed to voluntarily assist the clubs with resources for the development of the tournament.
“According to the law of Botswana the youth is someone aged below 35 years and the program is meant to empower them,” she stated.
From the new regulations participants aged between 18-35 years are the only ones allowed to participate in the league as compared to 18-40 years from the previous years.
Different clubs have raised concern over reduced first prize money from P3300 to P1500. The teams lament that the amount is not sufficient to even cover the costs they incur during the league.
Captain of All Stars SC of Disaneng Ward, Richard Maeba opined that the P1500 first prize money was not enough, taking into consideration the fact that the teams will have to travel long distances to play their away games therefore incurring travel and food costs.
“Every club wishes to have adequate resources that would improve their team’s performance and for the development of their players but with the current changes that will be a thing of the past,” said Maeba.
“The constituency football had a great impact for us, it gave us hope and instilled good behaviour in our community more especially among some of our players most of whom are unemployed, so because of the low prizes that has been introduced we may find some of our players losing interest,” he stated.
Delta Queens Netball Club Coach Motogelwa Seno also shared the same sentiments that the amount cannot sustain their clubs taking into consideration that they have already spent close to P800 to prepare for the games.
He added that the worst part about the newly introduced constituency league regulations is the age restrictions and prohibition of those who are employed to take part in the competition.
Seno further stated that the new regulations also do not allow for those who are employed to take part in the competition. This he lamented restricts the employed people to assist the teams with the resources as most of the club members will consist of unemployed people.
“Most of the constituency teams used to get help from the government employees, some members of these teams were from the BDF who used to assist the players with free training skills, some were medical practitioners from different health institutions who voluntarily provided medical care for the players and some employees used to provide free transport for the players,” he highlighted.
Maun West Constituency Sport Tournament Committee Chairman, Tshephang Galetilwe said the new regulations were a disappointment to the committee and the participating teams as they were introduced without any consultations.