With the Botswana National Olympic Committee’s (BNOC) search for its next president elections drawing nearer -October 7th, men and women of Botswana varied sporting codes are vying for blood, each intensifying their campaign daily. Just like in any other elections, candidates contending for different positions always form a strategic alliance or syndicate to try and compliment another’s capacity with the intention of trouncing the meek and ultimately winning the hearts of the majority.
With the upcoming BNOC elections just around the corner, a race which has pitted five candidates, who are all competing for the presidential post, the battle field has already been set as the incumbent President, Negroes Malealea Kgosietsile steps down from a position he has held since 2001.
The five BNOC presidential candidates are the current Vice President (VP), Botsang Tshenyego, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego (Netball), Daniel Molaodi (Volleyball), France Mabiletsa (Boxing) and lastly Ookeditse Malesu (Karate). While other candidates have not yet presented their manifestos to their well-wishers in a bid to garner support, only a week remains before all the five enter the battlefield, and #BotswanaUnplugged zooms in on all the presidential candidates in an effort to seek what prompted and inspired their entries…
Characterized by his experience in various sporting codes, Malesu (42) has been a stern performer. Having served in many sport disciplines such as the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), Botswana Football Association (BFA), Botswana Swimming Association (BSA) and Botswana Karate Association (BOKA), it is thus safe to christen him the indomitable lion of Botswana’s sport in this running.
However, we all know that in each and every sport, one is only considered the best in their last game, a thing which may truly hurt his winning intentions and prowess. Malesu relinquished his duties as the Botswana Football Association (BFA) CEO only last month allegedly due to poor performance. The former trooper has truly been loyal to Botswana sports.
Malesu has served under many hats, which include being the Africa Karate Union 3rd Vice President (2003-2004), Botswana Karate Association President (2002-2006), Botswana Swimming Association (2007-2008), Botswana Shee-ryu Shakokai Union Chief instructor (2009- to date), SCSA zone 6 under-20 chief de mission (2012), BNSC additional board member (2011-14) and holding the BFA CEO seat (2017) among others.
Consonant with the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – a global commitment to achieving equality, development and peace for women worldwide, the BNOC presidential race has within its midst the only woman vying for the coveted post, Tebogo Lebotse – Sebego. The 2017 Presidential Order of Meritorious Service recipient – an award bestowed on those who have efficiently and devoted service to Botswana, Lebotse-Sebego is duly credited for bringing the Under-21 Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC2017) styled #ReaBaTsaa to Africa, particular her country, Botswana.
As the current Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President, Lebotse-Sebego boasts a wealth of vast experience in netball. Like the palm of her hand, she knows the sport inside and out, having been both a player and a top-most administrator. She has been the President of the association since 2007. She is also the Africa Netball President and continues to represent Africa in the International Netball Federation Board.
While we support all women to compete with their male counterparts in a bare-knuckle fight for leading and influential positions, Lebotse-Sebego’s undoing regarding her BNOC campaign could only be attributed to the mere fact that netball is a non-Olympic sport.
One may also argue that she has not really been active with regards to other sporting codes besides either through her day job courtesy of extending sponsorships to other codes. A plus for Lebotse-Sebego in the BNOC milieu could be the fact that she’s married to former Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, Tebogo Sebego, an astute legal eagle who served at the Lekidi Football Centre for four years. The Public Relations (PR) guru has proudly become the first female to contest for the BNOC presidency and for that we say kudos!
Lieutenant Colonel Botsang Tshenyego is the reigning BNOC Senior Vice President (VP) since July 2009, having previously served as VP prior to a constitutional review. In this role, he chairs the Human Resources (HR) Committee as well as the multi-agency Botswana Long Term Athlete Development (BLTAD) Working Group. As a Senior Vice President, Tshenyego is responsible for policy and marketing.
The former soldier is one of the pioneers of the Botswana Tennis Association Umpires Program, during a time when Botswana used to host senior men and ladies satellite circuits. During this period he was the Manager of Botswana Defence Force SSKB Tennis Club. His leadership highlights at the tennis association include the development of the organization’s first strategic plan, constitutional review and the first formal financial audits. The goodwill that prevailed at the time allowed for a successful hosting of the 2001 Davis Cup Euro-Africa Group III competition with unprecedented sponsorship from the corporate and the diplomatic corps.
However, we feel his greatest handicap could be the failure by BNOC to do well in collaboration with international organizations to fund the ailing Botswana sport. As the number two in the current BNOC setup, the warts and failures at this organization are solely his too.
He is the longest serving president of volleyball – one of the most performing codes both locally and regionally. However, despite his continued shine, clubs continue to decry of his alleged poor leadership skills especially with regards to his alleged failure to find adequate funding for clubs’ travel and needs. This is despite volleyball having enjoyed various sponsorships unlike other codes which the same sponsors have supported. Molaodi is also the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) board member – something that could work to his advantage. He could easily align his quest to the mandate of the BNSC.
The Morwa-born former boxer is an Olympic light heavyweight boxer from Botswana. He won a bronze medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games and also competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Mabiletsa was among the Botswana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductees. He did the country proud in 1991 when he won bronze for Botswana at the All Africa Games in Cairo, Egypt. He followed up this achievement with another impressive performance at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Australia, where he won a bronze medal too.
The win, a first for Botswana at the games, brought to an end Botswana’s 20 year old search for a medal. However, administratively, Mabiletsa will be extremely challenged, simple because he has only focused on boxing his entire career.
Well, when it’s all said and done, the next BNOC president is expected to lead Team Botswana to the next Commonwealth Games in April 2018 as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. May the best candidate win