Local sports associations have in the wake of Botswana National Olympic Committee’s (BNOC) target of eight medals from the Commonwealth Games next year been forced to reorganize their seasons and plans. All codes are set to start rehearsals instantly to meet the committee’s resolve.
Botswana has won twelve medals at the Commonwealth Games since 1974, with six of those in boxing. Although this country has always participated at the games, the athletes had never brought back four medals from the games until 2010. It was in that same year that Amantle Montsho returned with a gold medal. The graph declined in 2014 despite optimism, particularly after Nijel Amos’ medal (gold) became the only offer on the taking.
As part of the plan to be prepared to bring back the 8 medals, athletes will not go on break this festive. The break, it is said, is one of the contributing factors for ‘reversibility’ in athletes. “We will assess the situation and only give them a day or two to see their families then come back for training,” BAA VP Technical Kenneth Kikwe said. A source close to BNOC offices has also revealed that the idea to not give the athletes a break during the festive will however depend on financial assistance from government.
“The plan is to take the athletes to a place of higher altitude similar to the Gold Coast, and Durban appears to be the potential venue. The team will train there this festive, if things go accordingly and they will get some rest in January before continuing with the preparations,” said a source.
When asked to comment on the allegations, BNOC CEO Tuelo Serufho said: “We are discussing that with sports codes and yes in some cases athletes won’t be breaking for Christmas. It has happened in the past but codes will advise accordingly on that one.” From athletics, Montsho, Amos, Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, and Karabo Sibanda are some of the faces expected to restore the pride of this nation.
“We are drafting the plan and the expectation is to start preparation early, maybe with the first event by the end of November or beginning of December. We want our athletes to reach their peak as early as March so we stand a better chance of notching medals at the Commonwealth games next year,” Kikwe said. BNOC believes that Botswana has potential to do more than it has in the past. “It is a realistic dream, we have been doing well since 2010 where we produced world class athletes and we are optimistic because even the competition is not as intense as the Olympics,” Serufho said.
While various sporting disciplines are still busy with the qualifications, athletics and boxing are expected to be Botswana’s flag bearers at Gold Coast. Athletics codes have already started preparations for the games slated for April next year. According to Serufho a number of plans are in place to ensure that the target is reached. “We are in constant learning and we are introducing methods that will help us realize the dream. We want top athletes to stay in one area so they can enjoy amenities like dieticians, psychologists etc. which will help their performance at the competitions. Further we are taking athletes for physical tests to Pretoria’s High Performance Centre.”
However, the BNOC is still hoping for financial relief from the government to see through most of their plans. The funds, if received will help all codes prepare for the upcoming games which will start from April 4 through April 15 2018. It is not clear exactly how much would be needed from government coffers, but sources say funds needed run in the millions (BWP) for the preparations.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.
Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.
The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.
Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.
The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.
The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.
He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.
Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.
However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.
Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.
WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.
Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.
The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.
He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.
The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.
The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.
When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.
But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.