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Money problems at Money Machine

Hailed “The money machine”, Gaborone United is in the middle of a financial storm. So precarious is the situation that even the coach, Rudolph Zapata is considering leaving the club. The club’s debts reportedly keep bulging.

The Argentinean born coach has had a stuttering start to the premier league- playing to a stalemate in each of his two games- results that prematurely leave more questions than answers about his status at the club otherwise known as the “Money Machine.”
Reports reaching WeekendSport suggest that the team is battling to pay him according to the terms of his contract that does not expire until the end of June 2018.  While is it common knowledge that GU, like any other premier league club, is deeply troubled by lack of finances, factionalism at the heart of the club management is not helping the situation.

The loss of their long standing technical partners in Est 67(GU’s in house brand) further complicates matters. But other reports linking former Zebras head coach Peter Butler to the club also mean that GU is a team administered by two centres of power. Some members who are close associates of former club chief financer Nicholas Zakhem’s loyalties lie with the controversial coach, who had a short stint with Rustenburg outfit, Platinum Stars.  Zapata is said to have heard about the intended grand plan to oust him, and failure by the club to pay him leaves him even more confused. Sources say he has enquired about job vacancies elsewhere, but club Chairman Okaile Rapula is said to have vowed to stick by him, for better and for worse.

Efforts to solicit comment from Zapata proved fruitless as his phone rang unanswered. Having made impressive signings during the past transfer window, GU was seen by many to be a club ready to take the fight back to long standing city rivals Township Rollers. As things stand, Rollers is on its own league, having won the premier league a record 5 times, while GU has prevailed once since Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) powered the league in 2009.

City Senne, former GU central defender, and now the club’s Secretary General calls for calmness amid the club’s troubles.  “Yes there is a problem of money, but there is an understanding between us and the players. It is not that we have neglected them, we are really trying,” he further noted. Senne also highlighted that the problem at GU is the same with other elite league teams who are still waiting for the grants to pay players. He mentioned that whatever they find they communicate with them to enhance this understanding.

Gaborone United is expected to play a friendly game with Peleng side, Extension Gunners over the weekend. The game is organized as part of celebrations as Lobatse enjoys 120 years of existence while on the other hand, Gunners make merry on their 55th birth year.  There is hope that some money will be made out of the game.  Senne also noted that close to 80% of GU players are residing in Zakhem’s houses- a more favorable situation when it comes to rental expenses.

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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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