- Team aims to improve on last year’s haul of 64 medals
- The Games are qualifiers for most continental and int’l events next year
- “We have no excuse not to bring the title home this time around.”
Team Botswana will start its quest to better their performance at the Africa Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games last year at this year’s edition that is billed for Lilongwe, Malawi from 1 to 11 December.
The aim is not unrealistic because Botswana emerged second after South Africa at the Games in Maseru, Lesotho last year.
The Games are a competition that involves 10 Region 5 member states, namely Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius and Namibia.
Team Botswana comprises 140 athletes and 53 officials from various sporting disciplines – football, athletics, athletics VI, boxing, swimming, volleyball, tennis and netball.
The Stripes are led by Shadrack Kapeko as Chef De Mission (CDM) and Lebogang Sekobye as General Manager.
Botswana’s activities will be opened by the Boys Under 17 football team when they tackle the hosts Malawi on Friday in an important to qualify for the 2023 Under 17 Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria.
64 medals last year
Botswana finished second overall at the last year’s edition in Lesotho with an impressive tally of 64 medals (24 gold, 21 silver and 19 bronze) from athletics, athletics VI, taekwondo, judo football, tennis and volleyball.
Kapeko told Gazette Sports in an exclusive interview that they intend to improve on last year by winning more medals in all categories that they will be involved. “Our main aim is to better our performance in all codes so we surpass last year’s medal tally,” he said.
“We believe in our teams and their coaches. They have been working hard preparing for these important games because they are qualifiers for most of the continental and international events next year.
“Our teams holding training camps under the guidance of their coaches and technical experts. We did well despite the COVID-19 setbacks last year, and we have no excuse not to bring the title home this time around.”
The Games are coming at a time when the country is preparing to resume school sports that are usually used to select athletes for the Region 5 Games.
Speaking at the sending off ceremony for Team Botswana in Gaborone recently, the Assistant Minister of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture, Buti Billy, urged them to use every opportunity to fly the country’s flag high because they are going into the Games as ambassadors.
“It is very important for you to know that whenever you wear the country’s colours, you are automatically the ambassadors and should use every opportunity you get to make Botswana known, especially through what you are going to do in Malawi,” Minister Billy said.
“We are confident that you will perform well in your different sports codes as you did in Lesotho last year. I believe that you were given all the support you needed prior to these games in terms of preparations.
“So you must go out and do your best because you are the future of Botswana’s sports. I urge you to consider sports as something that can turn into a profession out of which you can earn a living the way other local elite athletes you see today.”