Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) programmes, Elite Scholarship Fund, Zebra Fund and Re Ba Bona Ha, are set for a major review as the commission seeks to maximize their benefits.
Established to aid sports development across various sporting codes, the programmes are said to be under utilized as the country is yet to reap rewards from them though they gobble a lot of funds every year.
For the longest time the commission’s Elite Scholarship and Zebra Fund have been the honeypot for local athletes who have benefited academically and financially to pursue their sports careers.
Elite Scholarship has been designed to assist high performing and talented young students athletes in gaining access to quality tertiary sporting excellence education institutions while attaining success at the highest levels within their sport.
Zebra Fund on the other hand seeks to support individual athletes in order to increase access and create opportunities for participation in sports through provision of coaching, equipment and facilities.
According to BNSC Chief Executive Officer, Tuelo Serufho, the exercise to review the programmes is set to begin earnestly in the 2023/24 financial year.
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“In the past one and half years, we have looked at some of these programmes but it was not as comprehensive as we intend it to be. Before the next phase of Elite Scholarship we want it to be revamped, having incorporated all the changes we want such that we can get the desired results,” said Serufho.
“We are also concerned by return on investment on these programmes, so we want to ensure that with the review, the output has greater impact than we had in the past. We are not reviewing this programmes just on individual basis, we are also working on ensuring they are streamlined and they compliment each other,” added Serufho.
Some of the previous beneficiaries of the Zebra Fund include the likes of Leungo Scotch, Ditiro Nzamani, Lethabo Modukanele, Rajab Otukile Mahommed, Gofaone Mosupiemang and Denzel Seetso just to mention a few.
“If we are doing our things properly expectations are that a large chunk of our national team athletes at under 20 should be coming from our centres of sports excellence. But we haven’t been seeing much of that over the years. It’s only a small fraction who go into the Elite scholarship who were part of the centres. We don’t see a lot of athletes on the Elite scholarship continuing as members of the national team, so these are things we are working on rectifying at the moment,” explained Serufho.
The Elite Scholarship promramme has benefited 137 athletes since inception in 1997, with 94 of those managing to complete their programmes while only eight have failed to complete.
As of the just ended 2022/23 financial year, the programme had 45 active beneficiaries .