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Bright irked by sidelined Ngele

Senior National Team Coach, Major David Bright along with the  Botswana Football Association (BFA) are contemplating engaging  Mamelodi Sundowns’ head coach, Pitso Mosimane over the conditions of play of star player, Mogakolodi ‘ Tsotso’ Ngele.

This came to light following the announcement of the Zebras team that will play the Independence Day celebratory tie against The Walia Ibex of Ethiopia. The local football body and the coach believe that Ngele, as a senior squad player is supposed to play regularly so as to benefit his country at the end of the day. “I will engage the association to assist us in talking with Pitso Mosimane; we are of the view that Tsotso has to be conditioned to get back to his level best. His absence deeply troubles us,” Bright said.

Ngele’s situation with former African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns has grown precarious since his glittering stay in South Africa. He joined the moneyed Pretoria based outfit three seasons ago after scintillating showing with Platinum Stars. Sundowns, who showed interest in the pencil slim striker, have surprisingly given him only a few minutes on the pitch before loaning him to Bidvest Wits a season ago. Pundits say it is a sign that he is not needed. He was first believed to be part of the deal that saw striker Sibusiso Vilakazi moving to Sundowns from Wits. But later it emerged that Ngele was on a long season loan.

The talented Botswana player however continued to be on the upward trajectory at Wits and rightly so, was one of the fundamental pieces of the Wits squad that won the league last season. But as fate would have it, Ngele was seemingly not part of Gavin Hunt’s plans for his squad. The Wits coach has since allowed Ngele to return to the Tshwane outfit, and worryingly, the player with a dangerous left foot, has not featured for Sundowns thus far. It is reported that he is training with Sundowns reserves.

He might not admit it, but it appears that the former Under 23 coach believes that Mosimane is ill-treating Ngele. Before the close of transfer of players late in August, it was speculated that Ngele might be heading to another South African giant, Orlando Pirates, but no one knows exactly what happened in the days that followed. Ngele is one of the players who once stormed out of Zebras camp after a heavy fall out with former Zebras coach Peter Butler, but a few weeks later, the soft spoken youngster apologized for his way ward attitude.

Although Ngele’s strength of character cannot be underestimated, Bright believes that Mosimane should be consulted to help in Ngele‘s situation. Bright gave the player the captain’s armband a few months ago when Zebras played Mauritania in the group stages of AFCON 2019. Tsotso’s performance on the international stage cannot be doubted. But since his move to Mamelodi Sundowns, psychological aspects to his play have always been on the rise.

…I also need Nato

Coach Bright is also concerned about the hibernation of experienced midfielder Ofentse Nato in football. The 28 year old player is not attached to any team-something which is giving Bright a constant headache. “I have met him and we are still going to meet to understand why he left the national team, because it’s silly things which can be corrected,” he said. The Zebras coach believes Nato is an important cogwheel in the national team considering the fact that the backline is always caught wanting. “I still need him in the team, he is an important player. I have advised him to join a stable team maybe in South Africa because age is catching up with him,” Bright said on Wednesday morning.

The maverick coach who will be playing his third game dismissed the Indian Super League where Nato has been plying his trade at. “The Indian league is more like a constituency league, you play three months then break and without any competition for that matter. It’s not good for a player of his calibre but we need him in the team.” For a long time the player has not been playing actively, save for training sessions he had with Gaborone United. Size 10, as Nato is fondly called was dismissed from the national team camp by Peter Butler who pointed indiscipline issues as the main reason.

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Sport

Baboloki Thebe’s 44 seconds in 50 days

17th May 2021
Baboloki THEBE

The most challenging 50 days in Baboloki Thebe’s extra ordinary career have begun to roll in a countdown motion ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Thebe who is seen as heir to Isaac Makwala’s throne in the 400m race is expected to run down the clock and beat 44.9 seconds to book his qualification at the coming Olympic Games.

The indomitable 400m runner has between now and June 29th to achieve this monumental feat. The Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo, Japan from July 23rd to August 8th. There is a looming fear that the promising unconquerable runner might not make it as he has started training at the eleventh hour after spending much time on the side-lines due to social issues and a recurring knee injury.

The struggle to shrug off the rust of injuries and inactivity is believed to have resumed late and by the time the closing date nears, he might leave it too late.The 24 year old runner has since relocated to Ivory Coast to re-establish his old form that gave him a house-hold name both in local and global competitions.

There, the athlete will seek serious races until he finds the one that qualifies him to the tracks of Tokyo. All of these races should be within the IAAF diamond league rules and requirements for him to profusely benefit.

Thebe was conspicuously missing at Poland when Botswana’s famous 4X400M quartet scooped bronze and effectively securing a spot at Tokyo. The team, as usual was captained by Isaac Makwala who knows too well that Thebe has been, and is a significant threat at the world stages.

Before succumbing to injury, Thebe recorded an unimpressive time of 48.85. However, there is still hope for the talented star who left the country under a cloud after he allegedly sneaked out of camp together with one Onkabetse Nkobolo.

It is not highly maintained that the youngster will qualify but it is argued that, at this time of the year, most athletes are still shaking off their yester year rust and Thebe is no exception; he will soon get back to shape. Thebe has admitted that there is a lot of work to be done in the coming few days.

Athletics is a famously lonely sport, sometimes too hard to comprehend. It was the same talent of Thebe who once spoke of his struggles to train away from his families, and often by himself.
One of the most fascinating facets of this discipline is that most athletes stand upon a start line, behind a run up, or in a thrower’s circle alone: for ten or twenty seconds, often times, it is their fate that lies solely in their own hands.

On many occasions now Thebe has trained hard and long to represent a country that should now be laden with both sprinting and long distance runner talent- and to re-write history. Time will tell if the young talent is able to live up to his full potential.

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Sport

Inside incentive package for national teams

12th May 2021
Montsho & Makwala

Amid the heightened public back lash and low lying protests from athletes concerning welfare and unfair treatment at global stages, it comes to light that sport performance in the country can reach greater heights if the incentive package document seen by WeekendSport is anything to go by.

In March of 2012, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development liaised with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to work out and approve a budget for incentive packages for national team players.

The step was a necessary milestone that aided the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to erect a long standing policy that dictates the best possible ways of rewarding athletes in various codes.The approved package sees a total of 29 sporting codes listed under 3 categories with different athletes getting varying amounts while on preparatory camps.

In Category 1, the approved package list football and volleyball as the two codes whose preparations can expand over a long period of time. It comes into the open that the monthly allowances per football player is P 1.500 while volleyball players get P 3.500 each. Moreover, all the players under these two codes are entitled to a benefit of a government-funded insurance premium cover of up to P 100 000 in medical expenses.

Furthermore, athletes enjoy death cover of up P 100 000 while a gratuity at 25% of total earnings is payable every four years.Category 2 lists netball, karate, softball, athletics, boxing and rugby. Of these six codes, each athlete receives P2000 for every match appearance.

These athletes also enjoy the same benefits of injury and death cover as codes listed in Category 1.A total of 21 sporting codes are listed in the last category. These include amongst others, chess, badminton, table tennis, motorsport, cricket, squash and swimming. For all these codes, the incentive package states that each player will get P 1.500 per cap. Again, the athletes of these codes retain the same benefits as those in category 1 and 2.

The incentive package document further lists down rewards set aside for athletes performing in regional, continental and world competitions.Individual performers partaking in regional competitions gets P 1 500 if they bring a bronze medal home. P 2000 is for silver medal while athlete is sure of P 2.500 for scooping a gold medal. The same amounts also apply to a group code.

The ante is upped a little high at continental games. The document states that individual athletes bringing home a gold medal will get P 25 000. Furthermore, an athlete winning a silver medal receives P 15 000 while P 10 000 is for a bronze category.

Rewards for performance at the world stage is that an athlete get P 100 000 for scooping a gold medal, P75 000 for silver and P50 000 for bringing a bronze medal home. Furthermore, an athlete is given P 10 000 for finishing within the top 4 places while an added P 5 000 is for those who complete the top 8 category. This is for both individual athletes and group codes.

The document further states in the last paragraph that rewards for setting or breaking competition records is available. If athletes break a regional record, they will be given P 10 000. A continental record set and broken will see an athlete winning P 20 000.

In the Commonwealth stage, a local athlete will be given P 30 000 while P 100 000 is for those who break and set new records both at Olympic Games and World competitions. Coaches are also rewarded and get 10% of what an athlete receives at various competition levels.

However, there are misgivings that the document is static and needs to be revised to match it with today’s standard practice. Calls are overwhelming that rewards must be improved especially for codes-like Athletics- who bring optimum results at global stage.

The document should also clearly state break downs of budget for preparatory competitions and rewards for each stage especially in a group code. When giving clarity, the acting Chief Executive Officer of BNSC, Tuelo Serufho, said that it is necessary to understand the document but is eager to go back to the boardroom and effect changes if need be.

“We must be careful when we compare codes, a lot of emphasis is needed to get to the conclusion of who is performing and is who is failing, but for all purposes of fairness, rewards are meant for everyone and can be triggered,” he said.

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Sport

Task Force assesses BNSC proposal

11th May 2021
Hockey

COVID-19 Task Force is said to be studying the proposition of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to re-open sport activities in a phased manner before the end of this month.

The Task Force is said to be operating under immense pressure to build and maintain the equilibrium of sport alongside the impact of corona virus in the country. The team is working behind closed doors following recommendations from BNSC and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development that the relevant importance of sport together with its socio-economic value in Botswana’s circumstances can no longer be ignored.

This is also propagated by the recent scintillating performance by 4 x400 man national relay team. The quartet led by veteran Isaac Makwala scooped the bronze medal at the World Athletics Championship held in Poland last week. This feat was achieved despite the current lockdown imposed on sport.

Sources say the general recommendation from these sport organs is that sport activities must come back immediately but proper adherence to COVID -19 protocols must also be the number one priority. Furthermore, the sport organizations are believed to have recommended that there must be a phased approach to uplifting the suspension of the games.

Foremost, the Ministry argues that non-contact sports must return in the first phase. This includes among others, long tennis, table tennis, volley ball, athletics and chess. The second stage is to allow contact sport to come back to life where football is largely missed.

It is said the ministry has also attached the matrix involving all 40 sporting codes in the country that all give life to the proposed return to play guidelines. The matrix indicates that all 40 codes need to return to the field as soon as it is safe. Of these 40 codes, 22 of them have an urgent need to return to competition and this includes football.

BNSC argues in their position paper that the level of risk assessed and detected has seen only 10 sporting codes that are not in danger of spreading the virus. These are athletics, badminton, bowling, bridge, golf, motorsport, Paralympics, squash, and traditional sports games.

Football, wrestling, rugby, handball and hockey form part of the codes that act as catalysts in spreading the virus and a proper and strict adherence of protocols is needed.Meanwhile, it is said that football has met with BNSC high ranking officials to present their own case. The football association argues that industry has suffered a lot and there is an urgent need to return.

They say their venue across the value chain in Botswana is about P 55 million, employing approximately 3 000 people directly. About 9 000 jobs are created when the game is up and running, they said.

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