Notwane’s Pio Pain
It was always a case of when, not if, Pio Paul was to part ways with Notwane Sporting Club. Following their ‘well-kept’ troubled affair, the two are reported to have reached a dead end where the club has decided to set aside the coach after admitting that they are failing to pay him as per the contract. In retaliation, Paul is said to be refusing to hand back the club’s playing kit.
However, Notwane management says they have acted on the best interest of the club even though this seems to be a clear case of contract breach. Interestingly, the team admits their failures but is confident the decision to set Pio aside is within the boundaries of laws. “We are in talks with Paul about possible financial restructuring; it is an issue between an employer and employee and it is permissible by the employment act. The team is not financially stable just like many other in Botswana Football. We took a decision to stop the coach from training the boys so that the issue is dealt with amicably without affecting players” Notwane media liaison Mogomotsi Orapeleng wrote on the club’s Facebook platform.
However, those close to developments believe that Paul is frustrated by the turn of events and wants out. He feels the club is under mining him and must pay him as agreed. It is said Paul was last week allowed to limp on as Notwane coach, with the club heading towards their painful scenario of him taking charge of the team during mid-week drills as a living dead, but indications are now clear that the former under-23 coach is now side-lined.
Although Notwane’s patience has finally wilted, the once mighty Gaborone club is said to be in premature discussions with former Black Forest gaffer Gilbert Mushangazikhe regarding a deal to replace Paul. But others say Paul was said to be contemplating taking his job seriously still, with Makhete yet to issue any clear statement regarding his pending sacking and a firm interest in Mushangazikhe.The Notwane committee is said to be intent that if it is decides at this point to let Paul go, there should be a candidate in place who has agreed terms and would be ready to take over immediately to prepare and propel Notwane back to challenging top honors.
This is the strategy under which Mushangazikhe is approached, and although at the time of going to print, the team denied they had reached an agreement with him. Notwane is languishing on the 9th spot having collected just 10 points from 10 games. The team has been frustrated by lack of scoring attackers. To this date, the team has found the net 9 times and had hoped to sign former Sharps Shooting Stars striker Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping before breaking ranks with Pio Paul.
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AFRICAâ€™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 Worldâ€™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.
â€śAfrica 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.â€ť
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.
â€śThe sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africaâ€™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.â€ť
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.
â€śPolicymakers 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.â€ť
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. â€śFortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.â€ť
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. â€śFirst 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.â€ť
â€śPolicymakers 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.â€ť