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Hockey U21 likely to miss out on youth champs

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LETLHOGILE MPUANG

The Botswana’s National U21 hockey teams are facing the risk of missing out on this year’s Hockey Youth Championship to be hosted in Namibia. The tournament, set for March 18-28, will also act as the continental qualifiers for next year’s Under 21 Junior World Cup, but for the locals chances of making it to the competition appear to grow thin with each day passing.
According to sources at the Botswana Hockey Association (BHA), each member of both teams, male and female has been requested to raise a fee of P5000 to make the trip as the association’s financial coffers are “broke”.
“Honestly things are so difficult here, we have a group of 36 players plus 12 officials who are supposed to be traveling in two weeks to Namibia, we now find ourselves in a situation where each member is requested to contribute P5000 each if they are to make the trip,” said a source.
The source said the contribution was to help cover accommodation and transport costs.

“The P5000 is mainly for transport and accommodation in Namibia, and by the look of things, we might not make the trip. We have engaged with Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), as affiliates are to request grants for funding a month in advance per-competition,” the informer carried on.
“We as the BHA requested for this funding in January, only to be told in late February by BNSC that there are no funds, and this is not the first time it is happening. We currently do not have a bus/coach for travel. We had hoped that maybe we would manage to get a coach and tours company to provide a bus and driver so as to at least fuel it ourselves, but there has been no such luck. We had assumed that BNSC would be providing a bus, but they did not. We currently only have one bus we managed to source but it’s a 28 seater, and like I said there are 36 players and 12 officials,” he added.
The source ended by revealing that they had also hoped for sponsorship from the corporate world but luck has not been on their side.
Attempts to reach the BNSC CEO Falcon Sedimo were futile as he was reportedly in a meeting at the time of going to press.
This is not the first case in which the BHA has had travel complications with the BNSC over traveling arrangements, as a similar case happened last year when the team was to leave for Olympic qualifiers in South Africa, but only for a bus to be released just four hours ahead of the team’s kick off game.

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