KPMG helps Nico United with transport costs
BCL in provisional liquidation staff and KPMG jointly contributed some money towards Nico United’s transport costs for their remaining away games. BCL’s Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren’s deputy, Majaga Majaga handed over a P9100 cheque to Nico United on Wednesday afternoon at the club’s office.
KPMG is the company that has been engaged by the Government to liquidate BCL. This bailout comes after the Deputy Mayor of Selebi Phikwe, Molefi Pilane had pleaded with the liquidator to provide Nico United’s transportation for free as they are in a financial crisis. Prior to BCL’s liquidation, BCL was the sole financial partner to Nico, also providing them with transport for free.
Pilane said that he approached the liquidator and pleaded Nico‘s case with him, a matter which Dixon-Warren shared with his colleagues and BCL employees who are still engaged on Care and Maintenance to contribute towards assisting the club. The Deputy Mayor noted that the liquidator has also acceded to their request to grade the club’s ground.
The Deputy Mayor is also pleading with the Town Council to allow Nico United to use the now San Somo Integrated Stadium for training, a matter which has not yet been approved. Pilane emphasises the need for the leadership of the town to do all they can to support Nico so that they do not relegate.
Nico United Chairman, Mothusi Taolo noted that before the mine was closed, there was a five year plan in which floods lights and grass were supposed to have been installed at Nico United stadium but the those developments were taken to Mowana Ball Park instead. Mokwana Ball Park is the premier Softball Pitch in Selebi Phikwe where the finals of the annual Selebi Phikwe Softball Extravaganza is held.
The Club Chairman revealed that that Nico is in a serious financial crisis with debts amounting to thousands and thousands of pula. Nico United is failing to pay salaries, a situation that demoralise the players who have shown solidarity with the club and are fighting earnestly to avoid relegation. Nico’s monthly wage bill stands at around P80, 000.00, the chairman has revealed.
“Our financial situation is serious. We are paying the players accommodation and utilities and we are even defaulting. Our players have gone for four months without salaries,” he said. He said that the grants from the Botswana Premier League are the ones that they have been sustaining them albeit not being enough to secure them survival.
Other political leaders who have shown solidarity with Nico United by pledging their support are Members of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe East, Nonofo Molefhi and Member of Parliament for Bobonong, Shaw Kgathi. The two are cabinet ministers for Infrastructure, Housing Development and well as Defence, Justice and Security respectively.
Kgathi paid for the team’s accommodation in one of their away games when they were stranded without accommodation in Gaborone. Molefi has also assured the club that he will make accommodation arrange for their next away encounter against Gilport Lions, Taolo has said. Another supporter who times and again bails out the club is Botswana Football Association’s Legal Advisor, Sipho Ziga who comes from Selebi Phikwe. Nico is left with four games which are crucial for its survival. They will be hosting title contenders, Township Rollers on Saturday.
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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.”