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Bondo’s faulty whistle

Botswana’s best performing referee, Joshua Bondo is reported to be seeing his ‘African whistling future’ slowly fading following a brigade of calls and complaints about his continental officiating.

After officiating in a game between Senegal and Madagascar, the former, through their football federation, are planning to reject the Botswana referee should he be assigned any of their matches in future. In fact, they intend to write an official complaint to CAF on the matter.
Senegal strongly believes that they were denied a clear penalty in an AFCON qualify game that eventually ended in a 2 all draw.

It was not the first Senegal had criticised Bondo’s officiating. “We are planning to challenge this Botswana referee next time,” Federation of Senegalese Football (FSF) president Augustine Senghor was quoted as saying. Bondo’s  ‘poor’ officiating follows that of last year’s COSAFA edition. In 2017, Bondo was sent home from the COSAFA Cup tournament after controversially handling Zimbabwe’s match against Madagascar.

COSAFA referees committee said Bondo performed below par last year and was sent back home for poor officiating. Ironically, the same month, Bondo received the honor for best referee on home soil. His star allegedly came crumbling down when he officiated in a game between Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The said match ended in a goalless stalemate. Bondo was heavily criticised by Zimbabwean media for what they called ‘diabolic’ refereeing.

It is said the Botswana referee erred by not awarding Zimbabwean National Team two penalties. “COSAFA, who have a zero tolerance on bad officiating, wielded the axe on Bondo after reviewing the referee’s pathetic performance which marred the group Group top-of the- table clash between the Warriors and Madagascar that eventually ended 0-0,” report claimed before Bondo was shown the door.

Joshua Bondo was duly criticised across the COSAFA region and also on the continent for his poor show. It was said that the regional body’s referees committee that is using the tournament to develop match officials from Southern Africa stuck to their principle and took a last resort to punish Bondo. The last year’s performance is believed to have cost Bondo a place at this year edition of COSAFA, but it is indeed ironic considering the magnitude of games the Senete-born referee has officiated across the African continent.

He rose to stardom after he officiated an AFCON qualifier prime game between Ivory Coast and Mali in 2016. Contacted for comment on Bondo performance, the chairman of referees’ committee Eatametse Olopeng said, “If Senegal have a complaint, they know that they have to route it directly to CAF and not the association.”

He sees Bondo as the best referee Botswana has ever produced but admitted that the match official can make mistakes like any other human being.  The chairman is of the view that even when critiquing Bondo, a thorough analysis has to be done to examine if local referees are developed accordingly. Bondo is the only referee from this country to reach the Category B of worldwide match officials. The band consists of referees who will officiate only on the African continent, one notch away from the global stage.

Bondo started as a football player for his local club Hartlepool FC in the third division of the Selebi-Phikwe region. In a 2001 game while still at his local club, he got so angry with the referee and decided to quit playing football and become a referee. His refereeing career started in the lower leagues where he gradually rose to where he is now. Bondo was voted best referee in the 2007 Africa U17 tournament that was held in Namibia. Last year, it was Bondo’s   first appearance at AFCON Final tournament when he officiated in a game between Ghana and Uganda after officiating a series of qualification games.

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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon

21st March 2023

Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.

He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.

The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.

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Big Guns for Botswana Grand Prix

20th March 2023

The National Stadium will be lit up with fireworks on April 29, 2023, as some of the best international athletes will participate in the maiden Botswana Grand prix.

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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer

13th March 2023

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.”


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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