Rollers eye ex -Leopards coach
Former Black Leopards head coach Dylan Kerr has made a second contact with premiership champions Township Rollers about possibilities of becoming their next gaffer. Kerr was first contacted in May of 2017 to lead the club before Rollers management settled for nomadic Nikola Kavazovic.
Rollers administration has since advertised the head coach post, further fuelling speculation that Rudolph Zapata’s tenure might not extend into the next coming season. On the other hand, Kerr confirmed to South African media that he has left Black Leopards after guiding them to safety on the last day of the season‚ winning an Absa Premiership coach of the month award along the way. Rollers has won 4 titles in a row and interestingly, each cup was brought home by a different coach.
Mark Harrison, Mogomotsi Mpote, Nikola Kavasovic and Rudolph Zapata have each won the title in their first season at Rollers but all encountered difficulties in their next chapters. Kerr has told SA media houses that family pressures in England have forced him to tender a resignation but vehemently denied to have extended his contract by a further 4 years. Kerr is also seen as a highly rated tactician who can also transform Rollers season from a point of glory to another. The management is believed to be giving the Rollers coaching job the seriousness it deserves.
The arrival of Kavazovic two seasons ago showed a measure of significance in traversing new territories. How and why the club chose to replace Kavazovic with Zapata is still a subject of ongoing debate. Some inside Rollers sources claim that Zapata was the only immediate available candidate. It is further claimed that finances also played part in Rollers’ thinking when he was first considered. It is widely believed he was getting a lower salary than the double winning Kavazovic.
Sources point out that Rollers would want Kerr to command a salary scale same as Kavasovic but any other changes will be effected if need arises. Kavazovic was earning salary in the region of p50 000 excluding winning bonuses. While Rollers is steadfast on its insistency that nobody is crossing their mind in supplanting Zapata, this publication learns that the Gaborone giants will publicly address the coaching issue as soon as the season ends.
A key consideration at the Jagdish Shah driven project is a possible public backlash when it finally agrees with the former Black Leopards coach more especially that it is not clear if he will replicate what Kavasovic has done for the club in the past. It is in this regard that some within Rollers management would want the team to fight for Zapata to stay despite over pouring complaints that he has ran out of ideas before his Rollers journey could begin. There are others who claim that the Rollers playing philosophy should be carried along should Kerr be hired. On paper, it is argued that Kerr has more African football experience than both Kavazovic and Zapata , and this will be a telling factor working towards him.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”