GU pounces on Jay-Jay
Gaborone United is on the verge of acquiring the services of former national team striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana after Orapa United did not renew his contract.
The forward joined Orapa United during the same transfer window last year and impressed the club’s technical team scoring a brace in his first match. However the player felt out of favour as the technical bench preferred Omaatla Kebatho and Cameroonian forward Christian Joel Ntouba Epoupa who they got from Zimbabwe’s Dynamos on a two-year contract.
The former Township Rollers was used sparingly without regular game something which made him surplus to requirements. Nonetheless it was expected that with Epoupa back to his native country because of failure to ‘acclimatize and diet’ Teenage Mpote who has been replaced by Tomas Trucha would have kept the striker. All the while, one man’s loss is another’s gain. Gaborone United are said to have been licking their lips and their tails are up following the decision by Orapa not to renew his contract.
The Reds have been struggling to score goals with their striker Patrick Kabamba wasting glorious chances. The team has been relying on attacking midfielders for goals and the arrival of the natural striker like Ramatlhakwana will solve the team woes. GU has the entire arsenal to make an impact-Dirang Moloi, Jackie Mothatego and other enterprising wingers- but one lacking thing has been a striker who could score goals consistently.
By far the team is yet to make any public announcement but for sure GU is expected to be the busiest team in the transfer market. They seek a reputable position at the end of the season. Further, the Reds want to eliminate city rivals Township Rollers in the Mascom Top Eight semi-finals and go all the way to win the tournament they last won in 2015. The arrival of the Orange FA Cup is another factor pressing the team to bolster their side. Apart from Ramatlhakwana it is said the team desperately want Ofentse Nato who has not seen a regular game time at Rollers. All these intentions are motivated by the return of businessman Nickolas Zackhem to the team.
ORAPA RELEASES GALENAMOTLHALE
Meanwhile the Ostriches are said to have released central midfielder Lesego Galenamotlhale who has a torrid time because of injuries. The club though it is shy to come out clear on the matter believes the Moshupa born player has never had any significance in the ostrich nest.
The matter is so severe that it has reached Football Union Botswana (FUB) offices with reports that the team even freezed player’s monthly wages. Galenamotlhale got fractured in Orapa’s pre-season friendly against Prisons X1. The team after acquiring a new mentor Tomas Trucha will not sign any players to fill the vacancies.
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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.”