Botswana Strives To Commercialize Sport Through Investment

Gazette Sport

Speaking at the recent State of The Nation Address (SONA) President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the country has made a massive effort in its quest to commercialise and professionalise sport through investment. This process of professionalisation of sport was initiated in 2017 and the government pledged the construction of 10 mini stadiums as a way of improving sport infrastructure in Botswana in order to attract and develop talent at grassroots level from across the country and it commenced in 2018/19 financial year.
Masisi reported that Botswana has spent in excess of Forty Million Three Hundred Thousand Pula (P40, 300 000.00) over the past three years in preparations for the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics and World Under 20 Junior Championships. The 4x 400m relay team made of 6 athletes, Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Bayapo Ndori, Zibani Ngozi, Leungo Scotch and Anthony Pesela were awarded with houses that worth P2.7 million for winning a bronze medal, being the first ever Olympic medal won at team level.
This is deemed as progress on this process of commercialising sport since it has never happened in the history of Botswana Sports to see athletes rewarded with property.
President Masisi also applauded the private sector for their contribution towards the government’s efforts in the development and commercialisation of sport through their financial support. First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) recently rewarded the Olympics team with the sum of one million and fifteen thousand Pula for their great performance in Tokyo as well as other private companies such as Choppies and Debswana.
For his part Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Chief Executive Officer Tuelo Serufho welcomed the president’s remarks as it is a true reflection of support that they have from the government.
“We are happy that the President recognized and congratulated our athletes for their recent stellar performances. That should go a long way in motivating them and others to work hard in sport, and in the process, reach their potential for their and the nation’s benefit. Meanwhile we are starting to discuss the potential that sport has to create employment and contribute to economic diversification, that is also pleasing,” he said.