Chiefs in another coach headache
Hardly two months into his contract, Mochudi Centre Chiefs coach, Kinnah Phiri has dropped a bombshell on the team management – he wants to be released from his contract.
Phiri has accused the Kgatleng giants of contract breach and wants the contract terminated before matters get even more convoluted, WeekendSport has established. According to reports, Phiri is an irate man, and has complained bitterly about not being paid and countless broken promises. Sources say the Malawian born coach wrote a letter sometimes last week to Chiefs officials notifying them of his unhappiness.
Reports further claim that Phiri faults Chiefs for failure to be honest from the day they signed the contract to the time he started demanding what he was promised. According to sources, the former Freestate Stars coach says Chiefs has failed to provide him with a car as agreed at the time of signing the deal. He also accuses the struggling Kgatleng outfit of failing to provide him with a fully furnished house, and its failure to also pay their part of medical expenses. The coach is reportedly ready to terminate his contract and return to Malawi immediately.
Meanwhile, the club is also struggling to settle its debt with its former coach, Bongani Mafu. The Zimbabwean gaffer wrote to football Union Botswana a month ago, seeking for mediation saying he was about to knock at FIFA doors, the world football governing body, to report the case.
Among the debts that have accrued with regards to the former coach include weekly fuel allowance of around P500; monthly wages of P17, 000, unspecific match bonuses, a P50 000 signing on fee and medical aid cover. Sources say the team failed to fulfil their contractual obligation by not paying the coach for six months. Other aforementioned benefits were also frozen in the six months forcing the coach to voluntarily relinquish his post informally.
It is under this background that the coach demanded close to P200 000 from the team. The matter has been reported to FUZ which is contemplating engaging FIFA to assist Mafu. The club spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi could not immediately respond to this publication’s enquiry, but was however quoted earlier this week as saying, “Mochudi Centre Chiefs is willing to call Phiri to a table to hear his story.”
Although Phiri was brought in by the team management to to turn around the fortunes of the club, it appears he too will fall on the same route as that of Mafu. Some reports have surfaced that Jwaneng Galaxy were monitoring the situation and would want to snatch Phiri before he returns to his homeland. At the time of going to print, it was not clear whether Chiefs were keen on fighting to keep their new man, meanwhile Innocent Morapedi is still regarded as the care taker coach.
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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.”
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