And to the victors go the spoils

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It’s hardly been a month since we published an editorial urging local sportsmen and women to strive towards achieving their own personal goals  despite the challenges they face in Botswana’s  obviously trying sports industry. Given the recent  international recognition which our sports persons  continue to receive, it is without doubt that determination, coupled with patience certainly pays  off in the end. Despite the challenges faced by  almost all local sporting codes, mostly due to lack  of funding, the nation’s flag continues to fl y higher.

A few weeks ago Mochudi Center Chiefs attacking trio of Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Phenyo Mongala and  Dirang Moloi signed fi ve year deals with Democratic  Republic of Congo’s (DRC) CS Don Bosco. These  players are not new to the international scene as they  were once signed by different teams in South Africa  where they honed their  ootball skills. Their new deal  not only brings them back to the international scene,  but shows the dearth of untapped sporting talent  Botswana has to offer. The fact that we can now  export world class talent leaves us with the obvious  question of how do we keep them here so that they  too can nurture and inspire a new generation? What
may seem as a Catch 22 situation should become more of an opportunity.



Seeing that the most obvious reason for our stars opting for international teams is  money, perhaps the time is now that real money be injected in sports. Amantle Montsho was just last week ranked  2nd best in the Athletics World Rankings. This past weekend Joel Mogorosi was named the  Telecom Knock -Out player of the season, a title
that saw him walk away with R200 000 while Mogogi  Gabonamong was given his share of R70 000 after  his team lost to Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup  final The list of stars who continue to make us proud  is endless.  Surely, if one can walk away with such an amount  in a day, who would not want to go out and ply their  trade elsewhere? We have been taught to settle for the best and they are certainly doing so.

The purpose of this article was not criticise or  de-motivate anyone but to say while we celebrate these victories, heads should ponder and come up with strategies that will see our sports persons or  teams being recognised and being paid the kind of  money that other sports people are earning in their  home countries. Corporate sponsors should see the  inherent value in upping the stakes so that they can  reap the benefi ts of truly entertaining sports, played  by professionals who are paid their worth. The sports
administrators, who deserve a pat on their back, for  their nurturing efforts should also strive to better  the development of all sporting codes by being  innovative and a diligent. Botswana is an incredibly  small country and judging by the potential of this  growing number of successful sportspeople, there  are still plenty more shinning gems to be unearthed.

They persevered and here they are, making  names for themselves in other countries. Truth  is, our sports needs to be supported by all means  available. Let us celebrate them, even when they  have not done so well and rallying behind them will  give them hope and purpose to dust themselves off  and continue with the race. Remember we still have
a national team that needs our support too.