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BFA justifies Amrouche’s value

The news of Adel Amrouche’ stupendous salary should have never come at a time when the Senior National Team, The Zebras, endured a spirit-dumping elimination from the ongoing World Cup 2022 qualifiers against The Flames of Malawi.

Somewhere, around and far away from Lekidi Football Center, it   is quickly turning into a live trial for both the players and the coaching staff. Amrouche signed a two year deal with the Botswana Football Association (BFA), with a salary scale reaching a P 250 000 mark. The association’s representatives still distance themselves from Amrouche’ salary.  They are however steadfast in their insistency that “good things do not come cheap.’’

Amrouche, a gaffer appointed to overhaul and turn around the fortunes of the Botswana game within two years, has played back-to back games against Malawi and came out of the tie scathed. No goals, no win. However, increasingly—and predictably so—the team’s head coach is expected to become a living embodiment of the monumental task ahead. Malawi and world cup dreams have come and gone. Questions are now flying from everywhere trying to scrutinize the massive disparity between his priceless treatment and his lukewarm results. But it is too early.

With this in hand, many critics may feel further emboldened to ask for radical changes in high places of Botswana football. But while Amrouche’s job is obviously a thankless one, the association’s reaction amid the coach’s pay cheque is with surprising composure. Without dwelling much on his salary, BFA’s file and rank members say coaches are slowly becoming expensive to purchase. “There are no shorts cut to success, if we want positive results, we have to acquire tried and experienced coaches,” one member said.

It is indeed expensive. In Southern Africa and the whole continent, the confirmation that football has become mad with sky rocketing salaries still stand. Zambian football federation two weeks ago, announced that their Ministry of Sports has approved a salary scale of their head coach. The figure stands at P 250 000.  Julesic Vaseline, a Serbian born gaffer who was turned down by BFA, might get the job. Zambia, like Botswana, craves for AFCON qualification.

In 2016, as Zimbabwe traversed the redemption road, and paid their former coach Calisto Pasawa, a staggering P210 000 salary. This is according to Newsday sources in the country. The Warriors, as Zimbabwe is called, are of course the dominant force of the South African game and have appeared in the last two editions of AFCON finals. The side, together with Zambia has been pitted against Botswana to fight for the qualification ticket into AFCON 2021.

 Ricardo Mannetti of Namibia was earning 150 000 in Pulas and took his native country into the finals of the last AFCON edition. In South Africa, Steward Baxter, prior to his fall, was getting a monthly salary of 728 000 in Pulas. News24 confirmed his salary in 2018. Although he complained a lot that it is lower than what Pitso Mosimane was getting, he managed to take the country to the last edition of AFCON finals.

The Times Group, a publication in Malawi, reported that their most expensive coach was hired in June 2015 and was earning 320 000 in Pulas. In West and North African countries, the scales are high. It is not surprising that these parts of the continent are the kings and rulers of the African game. Ghana appointed Coach James Appiah, with a monthly salary of 300 000 in Pulas. They say it is one of the lowest in the region. How remarkable for a country that has won the African cup 4 times!

Egypt, the standing giants of the African game with 7 titles, paid Javier Aguirre a whopping 1 296 000 in Pulas. His monthly wages were increased after he took the nation to the world cup finals last year but only to be sacked after failing to win the AFCON title on home soil earlier this year. Cameroon, after winning the 2017 edition, also followed suit. They went for the signature of Clarance Seedorf, paying him 1 152 000. While some are sacked before delivering, what remains at the present moment is that “the tone is set” and Botswana is following suit.

Southern African Coaches and Salaries
South Africa- P 728 000
Zambia –       P 250 000
Namibia-       P 125 00
Zimbabwe- P210 000
Angola       P 325 000
Swaziland P 40 000
Malawi P 320 000

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Sport

Rollers make digital strides

11th June 2021
rollers_0121

A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.

Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.

This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.

Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.

Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.

However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts.  They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.

FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.

It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.

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Sport

GU finally snatches Ditsele

3rd June 2021
Lebogang Ditsele

Hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele has completed a move from Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, to Gaborone United in a reported lucrative two-year deal, WeekendSport can confirm.

The Reds have finally made their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be happy to have completed the transfer after a heavy fall out with Galaxy management.

He wants to play football that pays, something which Galaxy cannot offer and the allure of GU was certainly too much for Ditsele to turn a blind eye.

The team as led and directed by construction magnate, Nicholas Zakhem- who is reported to have given ‘CCTV’ a mouth-watering P30 000 per month plus winning bonuses contract in demonstration of their seriousness to win silverware.

Sometime in March, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum-to either improve his contract benefits or let him go-after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the devastating effects of the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy had arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P 3000 until a time football returns to the field with moneyed sponsorships.

“We are proud to have signed him because he will add quality to our squad once football returns. Always a quality player and like him and he is now available, you don’t say there is no football, you tie him down before other clubs beat you to his signature,” said club Director, Nicholas Zakhem.

It is believed that Ditsele has always recognized GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. Ditsele was at Gilport Lions before he was snatched up by Galaxy and now GU.  His moves come as no surprise as his dream has always been to play for high paying clubs.

No doubt, Ditsele has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but the lad has always felt that the time is right to move on. Ditsele leaves having a year left on his contract.

It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with the last season being his best, winning the premiership title.

Once Galaxy has sent him to overseas club at Highlands Park but returned home after a short stint.

However, the fan favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, The Zebras, was never going to be held by the terms of his contract.

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Sport

No injury problems for Amos

2nd June 2021
Nijel Amos

Despite encountering an injury scare ahead of the IAAF Diamond League circuit this week, Nijel Amos’ Olympic dream is still on track and he remains ever capable to stun the world by replicating his famous feat at the 2012 Olympic Games.

This was confirmed by his coaches and doctors after the Botswana star suffered a minor calf injury that forced him out of the weekend race. The multiple conqueror of 800m races is expected back on the track on June 9th to shake off this injury scare and face the possibilities of winning another Olympic medal. This likelihood only has one month to go!

Amos remains the only Motswana athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, a rare but magnificent accomplishment that still lingers in the memory of Botswana sport fraternity. At the time, he was only 18 years and strange enough, that silver medal felt like Gold for many.

His anticipated presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on course to renew the long standing rivalry between him and the Kenyan 800m world record holder, David Rudisha. This is the same Kenyan competitor who won Gold when Botswana’s Amos came second in a race that would become the toast of the competitions at the London Olympics.

However, two years later, at 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amos dethroned Rudisha in another breath-taking race that confirmed and sparked the ongoing thrilling competitiveness — filled with pleasure, pain and sporting hatred- between the two.

When Amos was beaten in London, he never cared who won the race but was ecstatic to have finished at the podium, writing his name into Olympic Game folklore.

But in Glasgow, for Rudisha, defeat seemed not to have diminished his hopes. After the finish, when the lacerations were sharpest and the wound deepest, Rudisha was pictured hugging Nijel Amos, and congratulating him for a job well done.

Then, Amos was just 20 years, oozing with confidence. The shy looking Rudisha wrapped a Kenyan flag around his back and went on a lap of honour to celebrate his silver medal.

If there was disappointment Rudisha masked it with the skill of an actor. He smiled and waved as he received a standing ovation. “Amos is a tough competitor and he was very good,” Rudisha once admitted, stating matters of sporting facts that would follow between the two runners. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

But then, there have been echoes of a swollen Muhammad Ali after his defeat to Joe Frazier, winking at the hundreds of fans who had converged at his hotel, determined to show light on his darkest day. The bruises on that day were to Rudisha’s record, not his face. Like Ali, he promised to be back.

But that night was about Amos. A callow 18-year-old who finished second to Rudisha at London 2012 sharpened his confidence, hardened by beating his idol twice on the Diamond League circuit, grew with each passing year.

However, both athletes began to suffer sporting injuries of their own, they lost the edge they were well-known for and it is why at the 2016 Olympic Games, the bookmakers were upset when they could not meet at the final. It was Amos who faltered in the heats and although Rudisha became the first Kenyan to retain an Olympic title, it was not as scintillating as it was in 2012.

Now with a month to go, Amos is living in prayer, hoping he stays free from injuries. He is looking forward to become the star again. He has won everything at the diamond league and broke every national record, but his eyes are still fixed on the ultimate prize- the Gold medal at the international stage, with or without David Rudisha.

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