He is like a bullet when he is on the homerun, true to his name (Letsile) loosely translated ‘it has arrived’ indeed a bullet has reached our athletics tracks; and we are thankful, just like his surname (Tebogo).
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) is famed for its consistency when it comes to producing some of the country’s top quality athletes, 200m specialist, Letsile Tebogo is no exception. In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Tebogo said he started seriously taking part in athletics in 2016 when he was still at primary school. At the time he was under the guidance of former national team coach, Mogomotsi Otsetswe.
“In 2016 during Botswana Primary School Sports Association (BOPSSA) competitions, I won three gold medals in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays. I went on to reach the national finals in 2017 under the 200m category when I was doing my form 1,” he shared. “Despite not winning anything the previous year, in 2018 I came back well prepared and went on to win two gold medals under the 200m category and 4X100m relays. I also won silver medal after my sterling performance in the 100m race during the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) national finals,”
Tebogo produced an amazing performance at the just ended Botswana games which were held from the 9th to the 18th December 2019, in Gaborone. The talented athlete smashed Baboloki Thebe’s 200m National Record of 21:25. He went on to win the gold medal after recording an impressive time of 21:12, eventually qualifying for the upcoming under 20 World Athletics Championships which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 7th to the 12th July. There is more competition for Tebogo to scintillate track enthusiasts – the Region 5 competitions will be hosted by Lesotho late this year.
The Kanye born sprinter is part of the five member team of athletes who booked themselves places at the forthcoming World Under-20 championships. The five;Boitshepiso Kelapile, Bernard Olesitse, Letsile Tebogo, Keoleboga Balemogi and Jayson Mandoze qualified for the games, after displaying a spectacular performance during the Botswana Games.The 200m specialist hailed the contributions made by his former coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe and also his current coach Kebonemodisa Koatshabe. He said the two have made a meaningful impact in his career.“They have been instrumental in my athletics career,” he said.
For his part, coach Molefi Josiah (Letsile’s school coach) said, “The boy has a massive talent, it’s very important to have discipline as it is the key in sport. We are also careful because injuries occur during the time when you tend to participate in many athletics events,” he said. Josiah begged Tebogo to start prioritizing his race to avoid taking part in unnecessary competitions as he might miss important athletics competitions due to injuries. The 17 year old is part of the BAA provisional team that went into training camp last week Wednesday in Gaborone to prepare for this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and also the under 20 World Championships.
As a young man the Kanye born track and field devotee tried many sporting activities when he was growing up. According to his mother, Tebogo’s preferred sport was football but he ended up excelling in athletics. “We didn’t take him seriously even when he brought home medals and certificates until he qualified for BOPSSA nationals held in Molepolole in 2016.” This was Tebogo’s biggest moment because he qualified for COSSASA games held in Namibia back in 2016. Tebogo was fortunate enough to have a teacher with an eye – this said teacher discovered his talent at Philip Moshotle Primary School.
The talented youngster was later introduced to the National team coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe who galvanized him for greater drives of today. Tebogo should blast past Isaac Makwala’s records because age is definitely on his side and he has more time to compete in the sport.
The Government of Botswana through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, has expressed its underlying desire to reawaken and improve sport policy.
This is also in line with the declaration made by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) this week about the need to improve sport performance in the country. The sport policy was first enacted in 2001 when the Department of Sport and Recreation was under the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
The review of this policy is expected to commence soon and strive to address all socio-economic problems bedevilling sport. The examination will start from the elements that speak to the direct processes of national dialogue of sport and come up with recommendations for improvement.
As things stand, the Sport Ministry has coordinated a task force to deal with the taxing issue of school sports where teachers have downed tools demanding special kind of payment for partaking in extracurricular activities. The government through various means has been made aware that sport forms an integral part of the country’s vision.
If the policy is finally revised, the country and other stakeholders will eventually achieve national development, unity and continued economic growth. “The national Sport Commission Act is also being reviewed to facilitate sport to contribute to the economy through commercialization and professionalism, as well as to improve the welfare and the rights to our sportspersons,” Masisi said in his address.
The review will once again take a long route of extensive consultative processes where critical factors were initially identified as continuous constraint to sport development. There is a wide ranging view that sport is solely for recreation. This anomaly is fast becoming a matter of yesteryears as more athletes are making a living out of sport.
In October of 1997, a discussion paper on sport policy development was prepared. At the time, the workshop brought together policy and decision makers. The discussions precisely centred on issues of sport participation and development. Participants included among others, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) and National Sports Associations.
There was the discovery of limited funding in sport and poor sporting facilities in the country. This has negatively impacted on the performance of national sports associations, particularly on the global stage. As a measure to this problem, the government has decided to build 10 mini stadia to up participation and performance.
In 2001 when the policy was formulated, there was an agreement that the national guiding principles of democracy, development, unity, self-reliance and botho are cardinal to the development strategy of socio-economic development planning. The Ministry believes that sport and recreation in Botswana have a close relationship with all these national principles.
When speaking to this publication, the Chief Executive Officer of BNSC, Tuelo Serufho said there is indeed an overwhelming appetite to improve sport performance and participation in the country. “Yes we need to engage both BNSC and BNOC to improve and review the sport policy more because it has been overtaken by time…it needs to be aligned with modern sports trends,” Serufho briefly shared.
The world football governing body, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), has ordered trouble torn Mochudi Centre Chiefs to compensate their former coach, Philani Mabhena, after unceremoniously dismissing him in the summer of 2019 with only a few months left on his contract.
FIFA agreed with Mabhena that Magosi, as Chiefs are affectionately called breached his employment contract. FIFA is of the view that Chiefs had no prima facie evidence that could lead to unilateral termination of a contract. The decision of FIFA’s status committee is that Chiefs should pay the Zimbabwean born coach an amount of BWP 111, 100 within 30 days.
The money is divided into two categories. BWP 56 100 which is derived from the period of 11 August 2019 until the end of contract. The other amount is P55 000 which was accumulated between January 2019 until a time he was sacked. Those amounts was accumulation of unpaid wages.
FIFA warned that more stringent action will be taken against Chiefs should they fail to deposit the amount before the set deadline. Mabhena claimed that Chiefs, before his contract was terminated, was never paid his signing on fee of P 15 000 as settlement remuneration.
He also argued that he had gone a couple of months without receiving his monthly wages. According to the terms of the contract, he was supposed to be paid P 15 000 every month. Chiefs to their bravery, has accepted the outstanding salary arrears of the former coach that stretched to P 56 100.
FIFA accused the shrinking Kgatleng giants of negligence and refusal to honour contractual obligations and this has brought far reaching consequences. Should Chiefs fail to honour FIFA orders, they are likely to be banned from signing coaches and players. They are also likely to forfeit points when the football season begins until full payment is completed.
The debts come at a time when the club desperately seeks a premier league return. They were rumoured to be eyeing to buy one premier league status to compete for the grandest prizes like before. Chiefs were relegated because of poor administration at board level. The team tried many times to professionalize but each attempt was beaten by the club society raging wars that consequently stalled progress.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs sporting club was first registered in July of 1974. The club was registered as a society under the societies Act of Botswana as a football team. It is noted that the club participated in the upper league of BFA under the terms prescribed in the constitution of the association together with the confinement of the societies act.
Premier League rookies, Sua Flamingos have fired their coach Raizor Tsatsilebe for allegedly speaking up for his players. Tsatsilebe who joined the team last season and helped them win Debswana First Division North league, was at the end of the season thanked with a one year contract extension.
His stay at Sua was to end in July of 2021 but things took a turn for the worst recently when management was said to be fed up with his demands. Reports claim that the Sua management felt the coach was more on the side of the players and did not approach things holistically, a move that led to his untimely expulsion.
“Since his arrival this side, he has been vocal about treatment of players, their welfare and as you know, players here have not been receiving their salaries but are given allowances on monthly basis. He felt maybe the club should at least pay half salaries as they have now resumed training. He also requested that the team should sign some players but that did not happen despite promises by the club. The final nail was when management left his goalkeeper coach, Terence Modikwe and signed Kagiso Tshelametsi without consulting him,” said a source at the team.
The club Chairman, Tirelo Thebe, confirmed that they have decided to part ways as with the feeling that they can no longer work together. “Yes it’s true we met with the coach and we agreed to terminate his one year contract because the relationship has soured. We cannot disclose more than this because it’s an internal matter and in the meantime our assistant coach will take over on interim basis while we look for his replacement,” said Thebe.
Tsatsilebe on his part felt hard done by the team after promoting them to the elite league- something they have been failing to achieve. “They are the ones who opted to terminate the contract not me and they couldn’t give me reasons why they are terminating. It’s a pity we coaches encounter such things in our lives but it has to continue,” said the 49 year old coach.