Rollers’ 8000 capacity stadium almost complete
Township Rollers management in conjunction with construction business mogul, Sayed Jamali are set to announce the completion of an 8000 capacity stadium built on the outskirts of Tlokweng in a plot wholly owned by Jamali.
High ranking officials from Township Rollers indicate that the stadium will be opened in July where an official statement will be made. It is further said that both parties have written to the Botswana Premier League (BPL) declaring their interest to avail the infrastructure for rental purposes.
Jamali and Rollers President, Jagdish entered into partnership way in 2016 where Rollers was paying Jamali a total of P30 000 per month for using Jamali’s undeveloped field. Rollers, up to this date is training at Tlokweng in exactly the same plot where the stadium is been developed and will not be paying anything to Jamali once the project is finally completed, sources claim.
There is no doubt that the stadium will attract a medium crowd as Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) and Ootse Police College Stadium. Both infrastructures have been available for premier league games, and this gives Rollers unwavering faith that the stadium will be used for in the next coming season. Should everything be agreed upon, Rollers will stand a good chance in raking in profit for the team, particularly after enduring turbulent seasons due to the ever increasing stadium levy.
However, both parties are still cagey with the partnership agreed between them. All the while, Township Rollers have been locked in a drawn-out search for funding for the new stadium with millions of Pulas, which is seen by the club chief financer as fundamental to the club's long-term future.
Premier League clubs over the past seasons have been paying Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) 25% of gate takings. Teams however have cried foul over the percentage, saying they were not making profit. The teams said they usually struggled to pay players, amongst other things after paying stadia levy.
However, this publication has gathered that the league board is suggesting a new payment ranging between P1.2 and P1.5 million to the Sport Commission. Should both parties agree, premier league teams will for the first time recoup 100% as gate takings to further improve players’ living conditions.
Should the move see the light of the day, it will effectively mean that the issue of ticketing solely becomes the responsibility of premier league teams, and not the premier league board as it has been the case. The negotiations, once agreed upon, will reverse and repel, to a certain degree, BNSC’s total recommendation of e-ticketing. The commission advocated for the use of an e-ticketing system that it will facilitate speedy reconciliation when payment is done.
But in any case, Rollers is on its way to joining BDF XI, Police XI, Orapa United and Jwaneng Galaxy as the only premier teams with total control of their stadia. League officials were not ready to admit whether they will use the Rollers stadium in the near future, but are courageous that should an agreement be reached, the stadia should help reduce over-reliance on BNSC.
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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