GABORONE, Botswana, February 2020 — With excitement already bubbling in the air ahead of the Confederation Africaine de Natation (CANA) ZONE IV Swimming Championships slated for the University of Botswana swimming pool from February 20 to 23, Stanbic Bank Botswana who are sponsoring the competition has encouraged Batswana to show the National team boundless support.
2020 is the first year that Botswana will host the CANA Zone IV Championships, and preparations are well underway. Different sponsors have seen it fit to support this incredible platform, with Stanbic Bank Botswana unwavering it its commitment to make the event a success. Botswana will be represented by a team of 40 swimmers (20 girls and 20 boys), 2 team managers and 2 coaches. This includes swimmers who, due to funding, would not ordinarily have been able to particulate in such a platform.
“It is indeed a privilege and an honour to have partnered with Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) to bring the CANA Zone IV Swimming Championships to Botswana. Our admiration for the talent our Botswana team is unwavering, and they have our full support. We all need to rally behind not only Team BW, but BSSA, ensuring a successful CANA Championship hosted in the heart of Gaborone truly makes its mark. Doing so means not only does the spotlight on Botswana and what we have to offer being stronger and attracting greater interest, but the sporting code itself growing. In that regard, a host of possible opportunities present themselves, from international awareness and reputation building to the chance of sports tourism taking off. We are truly excited to be involved, and this is an initiative close to our hearts,” said Sheperd Aisam, Head of Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) at Stanbic Bank Botswana recently.
The CANA Zone IV Championships is a regional event and is hosted on a rotational basis and has been in existence for over 19 years to date. In 2004, the CANA Zone IV Championship was launched in Swaziland, with only 4 countries and 50 swimmers at that time. Today, the Championship boasts a membership of 14 countries; these being: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. More than 300 athletes participate and over 150 spectators accompany teams, as this sporting code continues to gain traction and prominence even locally. These member countries are also members of the international swimming federation, FINA.
“We have certainly hit the ground running. I would like to take a moment and acknowledge the partnerships being formed with the Private Sector as well as our Stakeholders and thank them all whole heartedly for making these Championships a reality in Botswana.” She continued, “Hosting the event will help to grow awareness of the swimming sport in Botswana. We would like to see more and more young swimmers enrol in the sport of swimming, and if they can see their own on National TV swim on the national stage swim, they will hopefully be encouraged to get in the water and work hard to become our future Olympians,” added Ruth van der Merwe, President of BSSA.
As the countdown to the Championships continues, the public is encouraged to rally behind Team Botswana and help – through spectatorship, support and any other means – to move Botswana forward.