Sithole joins Police XI
Police XI are reported to have appointed former Mochudi Center Chiefs and Jwaneng Galaxy gaffer, Mike Sithole on a two year deal that comes with responsibilities of mounting a serious come back for title challenge as well as winning the top 8 tournament next season.
Sithole, according to inside information, was introduced to Police XI players on Thursday of this week, the same day his contract commences. The appointment ends a two months speculation of who will lead the club after The Jungle Kings lost faith on former coach, Sthandwa Mogwadi to reverse the team’s performance decline.
The ascendency of Sithole who won a Mascom top 8 title with Jwaneng Galaxy to the helm means caretaker coach Maitumelo Letlaamoreng takes back his full role of assistant. The team is expected to make an announcement any time soon with other reports stating that the management felt compelled to act in the best interest of the club.
Sithole is expected to coax a winning formula for Orapa United, and also inject fresh ideas and enthusiasm to a club that has fought relegation for two consecutive seasons despite array of resources at their disposal. The appointment of Sithole is already attracting country wide affirmation and regarded high profile one given the quality the mentor possesses. He was also won a league title with Mochudi Center Chiefs.
No doubt Police XI were desperate to move quickly after partying ways with Mogwadi- with lack of alternatives-Sithole’s immediate availability has counted strongly in his favour. They were not prepared to countenance a long wait to price away an unnamed foreign coach from Zambia, information suggests.
Sithole will have ample time over the off- season period to prepare for his first game, and he will be given a chance to earn a lengthier stay at Police XI if he impresses. The former Chiefs coach has to prove that he is still capable of succeeding again in the top flight of Botswana football. Police XI also believes that Sithole was placed in an impossible position at Galaxy, who are still struggling to return to their former best. They regard him as a safe pair of hands and trust he has not lost the abilities that allowed him to enter Botswana football.
Sithole will find a side crying out for greater organisation. Police has struggled hard this season and have conceded silly goals even during Lotlaamoreng’s era as the caretaker coach and Mogwadi as a coach. Sthandwa Mogwadi who is expected to take another role at the club was once a popular figure at Police XI. The former mentor enjoyed an impressive debut season, leading them to championship title in 2005-6 season. He is the only coach to have a league with the side.
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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.”