Gavin Hunts Tsotso
Mogakolodi ‘ Tsotso’ Ngele is expected to inform Mamelodi Sundowns about his desire to join Bidvest Wits after receiving a tip off that Gavin Hunt still admires him. Ngele spent a short spell at Hunt’s side in 2016 on loan, and aided the team in title triumph.
Ngele who has become surplus to requirements at Sundowns is set to leave as his contract expires in June. WeekendSport understands that Tsotso is keen to leave the Pretoria based outfit and has already indicated that to the management. Sundowns have an option to renew his contract, but given lack of game time under Pitso Mosimane, the attacking midfielder will never entertain a second thought.
Sundowns over the years has developed a hard nose when negotiating for Ngele. It is said the Brazilians still admirer the Botswana international but why they could not afford him more game time is still not known. However, Sundowns are set lose the left footed midfielder for free more because his contract is roughly four months away from the expiry date. It is believed that Ngele still recognises Bidvest Wits as one of South Africa’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the honours.
Currently, Hunt’s side is placed second on the ABSA log standings. In the event of leaving Sundowns for good, whom he joined from Botswana’s Township Rollers, through Platinum Stars, he has always dreamt of playing for a competitive side while enjoying game time. He has enjoyed his years at Sundowns as a professional where he is adored by the supporters, but feels that the time is right to move on.
It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club. Twice Sundowns loaned him to different teams, first to the same BidVest Wits where he helped them win the league and secondly to Supersport United where also aided them to avoid relegation. However, as the fan favorite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, Zebras, but he is still admired in South Africa. Sundowns and Mosimane are expected to make a pronouncement on his future soon.
Those close to developments mention that Ngele is not shocked by the stubborn position held by Pitso Mosimane and Sundowns. It is not clear if Sundowns will surely hate losing such a prized possession to their fiercest rivals. Both teams have traded players before. Elias Pelembe and Curthbert Malatjila have left Sundowns for Wits while Sibusizo Vilakazi crossed the floor from Wits to Sundowns- an occurrence that gives Ngele and his negotiators adequate hope. Ngele ‘s domestic stock rose quickly while at Rollers in 2012. He had a successful season with the Gaborone giants under the leadership of Somerset Gobuiwang where he won the Mascom top title and the maiden golden boot before Platinum Stars snatched 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.”
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