Botswana Chess Federation is planning to assemble a team of chess players for the Africa individual tournament to be held in Malawi next month.
In an interview with Gazette Sports, Botswana Chess Federation President Mothokomedi Thabano said although the sporting sector is currently facing a difficult time owing to restricted travelling, halted sports activities and lack of funding, they are hopeful that a team of local players will be selected to travel and participate in the tournament.
“Players continue taking part in other international events played online , There is an upcoming over the board Africa individual tournament to be held in Malawi in May”
“Our hopes remain on whether government will relax restrictions and also hinge our hopes on the availability of funding because we are in desperate need of revenue
to keep up with both local and international chess activities” said Thabano.
Thabano indicated that currently there is one online event going on today, in collaboration with Botessa, adding that the Federation technical members hold online
Although Botswana Chess Federation intends to assemble a team for the tournament, gazette sport understands that a fund from the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has since been withdrawn due to lack of sport activities locally.
A source close to the publication indicated that Chess was the only sporting code in possession of the fund before government took a decision to suspend all codes owing to the virus.
“We have tried in vain to convince the BNSC that we can hold a safe tournament but that fell on deaf ears, we are not even sure whether we will assemble a team because it is not only the issue of the virus that continues to make it difficult, we are also cash-strapped” said source.
Source further highlighted that the Federation intends to engage the sports commission for assistance.
“For now all hopes remain with the sports commission because they have been tasked with ensuring that whichever sporting code seeks to hold any tournament, it should be safe to do so”
“Our financial situation is also depressing, we need BNSC intervention but hopefully even some private sector companies can chip in so that we can travel and participate” said source.
Source further said online games have had little impact, saying that it has even resulted in the reduction of participating players.
“Most of our athletes have consistently raised their concerns with online games, some even prefer that we wait for the sports commission to relax restrictions before they can take part” said source.